Counting Down New 'Nightline' Anchor Dan Harris's Top 5 Most Obnoxiously Biased Quotes
ABC News on Friday announced that weekend Good Morning America host Dan Harris will replace Bill Weir as co-anchor of Nightline. Harris has a long history of offering harsh attacks on conservatives and providing liberal spin. On September 21, 2009, the journalist smeared Tea Party protests, concluding, "Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President."
Earlier that year, Harris used the same dodge, insisting that "critics" see the Tea Party as "not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests." In contrast, the reporter appeared charmed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, lauding their tent villages as filled with cookies and bloggers. Harris's top five most obnoxious examples of liberal bias can be found below.
5. Although the ABC reporter has expressed skepticism of the Tea Party, he credulously repeated this detail about Saddam Hussein in 2003:
DIANE SAWYER: I read this morning that he’s [Saddam Hussein] also said the love that the Iraqis have for him is so much greater than anything Americans feel for their President because he’s been loved for 35 years, he says, the whole 35 years."
DAN HARRIS IN BAGHDAD: He is one to point out quite frequently that he is part of a historical trend in this country of restoring Iraq to its greatness, its historical greatness. He points out frequently that he was elected with a hundred percent margin recently.
– ABC’s Good Morning America, March 7, 2003.
4. While Harris couldn't be bothered as to whether Saddam Hussein really got 100 percent of the vote, he made sure to interrogate a conservative group in America who fights voter fraud:
HARRIS: True the Vote has enlisted and trained an army of citizen volunteers to challenge voters in the name of what they call voter integrity. It sounds admirable, even patriotic. But Teresa and other Democrats say it's not about voter integrity but about voter suppression, specifically, trying to intimidate low-income people, minorities and students who might vote for President Obama.
HARRIS: We set out to learn about True the Vote. We found out that its founder and leader is this woman, Catherine Engelbrect, who travels the country speaking about how voter fraud is a hidden menace, threatening the fabric of our democracy. In light of all the controversy, she agreed to sit down with us for her first national television interview. Is your goal really to end voter fraud or is your goal really to intimidate voters who disagree with you politically and scare them away from the polls?
– ABC's Dan Harris on the November 1, 2001 Nightline. [MP3 audio here.]
3. When it came to the hard-left Occupy Wall Street movement, Harris seemed charmed, fawning over the group's cookies and bloggers:
This is a surprisingly functional little city. Let me give you a little tour. It starts here with the information desk for people newly arrived. Behind that this whole area back here, this is the media area. It's filled with bloggers and other people getting the word out and powered by donated generators. And this is the food station. It's all free and all donated — including some cookies that came in today from a grandmother in Idaho.
— ABC's Dan Harris showing off the protesters' camp on World News, October 3, 2011.
2. Returning to the Tea Party movement, however, Harris saw a scam orchestrated by corporate interests:
Cheered on by Fox News and talk radio, the hundreds of tea parties today were designed to protest the bailouts, the stimulus plan, and President Obama’s budget....But critics on the left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it’s actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests....While the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was about taxation without representation, critics point out that today’s protesters did get to vote — they just lost. What’s more, polls show most Americans don’t feel overtaxed.
— ABC’s Dan Harris on World News, April 15, 2009.
1. In 2009, Harris made his feelings about the Tea Party quite clear, mocking them as unhinged and potentially driven by racism against the President:
DAN HARRIS: They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist.
HARRIS: And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President.
-- ABC's Dan Harris on World News, September 15, 2009. [MP3 audio here.]
Harris will have quite a standard to live up to. Previous Nightline co-host Bill Weir thrilled over Obama's 2009 inauguration, enthusing, "national pride" made the cold feel warmer as even the seagulls were "awed."
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.