ABC's Sawyer whitewashes 9-12 protesters' extremism

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

During an interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer whitewashed the extremism on display during the 9-12 protests by asserting that people at the protests were "saying things like, look at the reality. We're facing a $1.6 trillion deficit. If you're facing IOUs to other countries, where suddenly they own America, our children are imperiled." In fact, far from simply complaining about the deficit, numerous protesters at the 9-12 rallies held signs featuring inflammatory attacks on Obama and other Democrats, and Good Morning America itself previously interviewed 9-12 protesters who said that "every Democratic politician is working for the mafia" and that Obama is a "communist."

Sawyer claims 9-12 protesters were "saying things like" the ballooning deficit "imperil[s]" our children

From the September 15 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

SAWYER: There were tens of thousands of people in the street in Washington over the weekend, saying things like, "Just look at the reality. If you're facing a $1.6 trillion deficit, if you're facing IOUs to other countries, where suddenly they own America, our children are imperiled."

FEMALE 9/12 PROTESTER [video clip]: Stop spending our money. I have a grandbaby, we have a grandbaby, a year old, who isn't going to have a dime.

SAWYER: One woman said, "they won't have a discretionary dime."

But many of the protesters' signs and statements were extreme

Shuster: The 9-12 protesters gathered to "unite in apparent hatred" of Obama. On the September 14 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, guest host David Shuster noted signs at the 9-12 protest comparing Obama to "Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Fidel Castro"; "threaten[ing] the president's life"; "denigrat[ing] the ancestry and skin color" of Obama "while calling him a liar"; and portraying Obama as a "bloodsucking alien," an "illegal alien," and "the devil." Shuster also noted a sign that "use[d] the death" of Sen. Edward Kennedy to "bury" health care reform legislation.

Reported protest sign: "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy" From Talking Points Memo's 9-12 protest photo gallery:

Reported protest sign: Obama telling terrorists, "Whoa boys! I'll take it from here." From Talking Points Memo's protest photo gallery:

Reported protest sign: "Obamacare is elderly genocide." From Talking Points Memo's 9-12 protest photo gallery:

Reported protest sign: "We came unarmed [this time]." From Talking Points Memo's protest photo gallery:

Reported protest sign: "Stop" Obama "now" before "we smell the burning flesh from the ovens." From Talking Points Memo's protest photo gallery:

Reported protest sign: "The zoo has an African [lion] and the White House has a lyin' African!" From Wonkette:

ABC's own reporting undermines Sawyer's assertion

GMA previously aired protesters pushing "mafia" and "communist" smears. During the September 13 edition of Good Morning America, ABC's Yunji de Nies interviewed protesters who said that "every Democratic politician is working for the mafia" and that Obama is a "communist." Like Shuster, de Nies also noted that "Some [protesters] even called to bury Obamacare with Kennedy." During the show, ABC also aired footage of protesters holding signs depicting Obama as the Joker, comparing Obama to Karl Marx and Josef Stalin, and urging people to "Fight Liberal Fascism." One sign ABC aired read, in part: "We have waken up to your evil plans to destroy our country. Take your racist, un-American 'ACORN' groups and arrogant wife back to your own country."

During Sawyer's remarks, ABC aired protester's sign echoing Rep. Wilson's "You lie!" outburst. As Sawyer spoke about how the protesters expressed concern about the deficit, ABC aired footage of a protester holding a sign which read: "YOU LIE! NO BIG GVT. TERM LIMITS." The sign echoed Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) outburst during Obama's September 9 joint address to Congress on health reform, in which Wilson shouted, "You lie!" when Obama said "our reform efforts" would not "insure illegal immigrants." But as ABC's Jake Tapper stated on the September 10 edition of World News: "Would the president's reforms apply to illegal immigrants? The answer is no."

Transcripts

From the September 15 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

SAWYER: There were tens of thousands of people in the street in Washington over the weekend, saying things like, "Just look at the reality. If you're facing a $1.6 trillion deficit, if you're facing IOUs to other countries, where suddenly they own America, our children are imperiled."

FEMALE 9/12 PROTESTER [video clip]: Stop spending our money. I have a grandbaby, we have a grandbaby, a year old, who isn't going to have a dime.

SAWYER: One woman said, "they won't have a discretionary dime."

GEITHNER: We got into this because we borrowed too much. We lived beyond our means, both as a country -- many businesses did it, many families did it, and obviously, the financial sector did that. But, in a crisis, in a fire that was that powerful, the government had to do some deeply offensive things to help contain the damage. And we will get out of that as quickly as we can. We're not going to keep a penny in the financial system or in the U.S. economy longer than we think is absolutely necessary.

From the September 13 edition of Good Morning America:

BILL WEIR: Protesters descend on the nation's capital to rail against big government, while the president takes his health care pitch on the road. What the battle means for true reform.

[...]

KATE SNOW (ABC correspondent): A galvanizing moment in Washington on Saturday for those opposed to President Obama's health care plan. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to rally against Democrats in Congress and a whole lot more. And ABC's Yunji de Nies was on the National Mall for the rally. She joins us now from the White House this morning. Good morning, Yunji.

DE NIES: Good morning, Kate. The numbers are hotly debated. Washington officials estimate that as many as 75,000 people marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Regardless of how many, their message was loud and clear.

[begin video clip]

DE NIES: They came with signs, costumes, and lots of energy. A government they see as too big, wasteful, and out of control.

PROTESTER: We don't want your new health care. We don't want any more taxes. We don't want any more stimulus. We don't want any more lies.

DE NIES: They carry a great mistrust of almost anyone in office.

PROTESTER: Every poli -- Democratic politician is working for the mafia.

MICHAEL GIBBS (protester from Ohio): He's a communist.

DE NIES: Do you really believe the president is a communist?

GIBBS: I believe he's not only a communist, but all you have to do is look at the people he's brought in as czars, you know, and look at the things he's doing.

DE NIES: Some even called to bury Obamacare with Kennedy. But the marchers insist they're not extremists.

DARIN INGE (protester from Texas): We have been mischaracterized as a mob, as terrorists, as racists, as gangsters, when really we're just Americans who are fed up.

DE NIES: The marchers' message was aimed squarely at the president.

JIM FLAUTHER (protester from Ohio): Start listening to the people, sir. We've had just about enough.

DE NIES: Mr. Obama held a health care rally of his own thousands of miles away in Minneapolis.

[end video clip]

Posted In
Economy, Government
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Diane Sawyer
Show/Publication
Good Morning America
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