Shutdown Showdown: ABC Predicts GOP Will 'Blink First'; NBC Hypes Closed Museums
All three networks on Tuesday morning hyped the partial government shutdown with reports from closed museums in Washington D.C. and live shots of the Statue of Liberty. The journalists of ABC's Good Morning America informed Americans that Republicans would probably "blink first" in the stand-off with the White House and congressional Democrats.
NBC's Peter Alexander checked in live from Washington, touting the "4200 workers at the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo." He narrated, "We're now here in front of the National Air and Space Museum. They tell me last week they had 88,000 visitors come here. Today it'll be zero, the door's are locked." Alexander added, "And there's a very simple message posted to that front door, it reads, 'We apologize for the inconvenience.'" [MP3 audio here.]
Alexander relayed numerous sad stories: "Near Boston, Fred Barta is packing his bags for a dream vacation with his girlfriend. A retirement trip he's been mapping out for years. Two weeks, four states, and at least five national parks and monuments. From the Grand Canyon to Zion. All of them, now closed."
Over on Good Morning America, the ABC program featured less coverage. Co-host George Stephanopoulos asserted that all the negotiating have "all added up to nothing. No deal. No relief. More stalemate."
Correspondent Jeff Zeleny predicted Democratic victory: "I'm seeing some cracks among the Republican armor...So, if anyone's going to blink first, most people think it will be Republicans. The question, of course, is when?"
A GMA report by Jon Karl offered an almost balanced amount of clips: Four of Obama and Democrats blaming Republicans and three of GOP member decrying the White House for not negotiating.
On CBS This Morning, the show's journalists featured six clips of Democrats and only four of Republicans. (A Kelly O'Donnell report on Today was split three to three.)
The CBS show opened with liberal Congressman Jim Moran bellowing, "Our founders would be ashamed of what this Congress has become! We're dysfunctional. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. That's nuts."
Although Charlie Rose and Nancy Cordes did feature Republicans such as John Boehner and Congressman Robert Pittenger, there were more Democratic examples, including Harry Reid sneering, "They [Republicans] have lost their minds."
Rose lamented, "...About 800,000 federal workers will be off the job this morning. Veterans' disability claims will not be decided. The WIC nutrition program for needy women and children may have to shut down."
A transcript of the October 1 Today segment is below:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: As we mentioned, the shutdown is already impacting services nationwide, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans without paychecks. NBC's Peter Alexander is on the National Mall in Washington and has got that part of the story. Peter, good morning to you.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: People, Paychecks, and Parks; What's Impacted by Gov't Shutdown]
PETER ALEXANDER: Savannah, good morning to you. That includes the 4,200 workers at the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo. They've all been furloughed as a result of this government shutdown. We're now here in front of the National Air and Space Museum. They tell me last week they had 88,000 visitors come here. Today it'll be zero, the door's are locked. And there's a very simple message posted to that front door, it reads, "We apologize for the inconvenience."
In Virginia, the shock is still hitting Thomas Fuller. A single father to 7-year-old Nikita, he's an IT consultant, a contract worker for the Dept of Labor. Among tens of thousands of federal contractors impacted.
THOMAS FULLER: You know, the frustration is because it seems to – like something that could be avoided.
ALEXANDER: The message delivered to Fuller in a short e-mail. "The tasks that you are performing will need to be stopped." No work, no pay, no clear end in sight.
FULLER: We wouldn't be able to get along, you know, without pay for, you know, a month or two. It would affect us dramatically.
ALEXANDER: Near Boston, Fred Barta is packing his bags for a dream vacation with his girlfriend. A retirement trip he's been mapping out for years. Two weeks, four states, and at least five national parks and monuments. From the Grand Canyon to Zion. All of them, now closed.
FRED BARTA: The Grand Canyon's something I wanted to see as a child, and now I'm 63 years old and I'm gonna see it for the first time. But now I'm gonna get there and I can't see it.
ALEXANDER: Like plenty of others, Barta's angry at Washington. Republicans and Democrats alike.
BARTA: Get it together, work together, and do something, because we the people are being hurt.
That's just two of the stories, with hundreds of thousands, Matt, of others like it. We've been speaking to people here on the National Mall all morning. And there's consensus on one thing, frustration, irritation, and this morning, confusion.
MATT LAUER: Alright. Peter Alexander in Washington this morning. Peter, thanks so much.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.