ABC Hypes Gay Marriage Infomercial With Obama as a 'Historic' 'Riveting' 'Cultural Event'
On ABC's World News, Wednesday, Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts hyped Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage as a "historic," "riveting" "cultural event."
The interview played more as an infomercial
for the President, featuring long stretches of Obama talking with no
pesky, interrupting questions.
Anchor Diane Sawyer enthused, "Well, as we said this is a historic cultural and political event in this country."
In the tease for the interview, Sawyer trumpeted, "Tonight on World News, a historic ABC News interview. President Obama takes a stand on same sex marriage." In the segment, Roberts didn't push the President on why his "evolution" took 17 months.
Obviously, ABC was proud of its exclusive, but the network chose to uncritically play the President's comments without interruption. This is an example of one such "answer.":
OBAMA: I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth. But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that don't ask, don't tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. You know, it's interesting. Some of this is also generational. You know, Malia and Sasha, they've got friends whose parents are same-sex couples. You know, there have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we've been talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it couldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently. It doesn't make sense to them. And frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.
Now, a follow-up segment by Jake Tapper did feature an African American
barber who opposed the President. However, in a segment on Thursday's Good Morning America, Tapper let the President off the hook for the flip-flopping charge.
The journalist spun that America is in the midst of a "national flip-flop" on gay marriage. According to Tapper, this is why "the public is not regarding this as a flip-flop by the President."
Of course, considering that one of Obama's main critiques of Mitt Romney is that the Republican is a flip-flopper, this is a convenient, generous rationalization.
On Thursday's GMA, Roberts admitted to getting "chills" from the President's declaration.
A transcript of the May 9 World News segment can be found below: