Networks Ignore Revealing Obama 'Baby' Gaffe

Last Saturday afternoon, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama likened having a baby to being “punished” or contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but you'd never know it by watching network news.

This revealing remark should have been a major story, given Obama's history as a pro-abortion advocate who, as a state legislator, refused to support a partial birth abortion ban or a law protecting babies who survive abortions.

A Nexis search, however, reveals the statement has been covered only by bloggers, talk radio, cable talk shows and Fox News. CNN broadcast the speech live.


Speaking off the cuff to a Johnstown, Pennsylvania audience, Obama said:

When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include abstinence education and teaching children that sex is not something casual.  But it should also include other information about contraception because, look, I've got two daughters, nine years old and six years old.  I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals.  But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.  I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16.

Despite intensive coverage of the fight for the Democratic nomination, and condemnations of the remark from growing numbers of religious and pro-life organizations, we haven't found a word about Obama's colossal gaffe on ABC, NBC or CBS's morning and evening news broadcasts as of the afternoon of April 2.

On Saturday evening, when the story should have been told, ABC preferred to cover Obama “playing nursemaid to a calf” and bowling.  NBC discussed Obama's retail politics in a bar and a wire factory.  CBS was preempted by March Madness.

On Monday evening, both NBC and ABC led their newscasts with stories about Obama leading Hillary Clinton in polls and in fundraising.  His frontrunner's status won't change, of course, if the networks refuse to report his troubling statements during public speeches.

This morning (April 2), CBS's Early Show ran an interview of Obama by anchor Harry Smith.  Rather than asking about the baby gaffe, Smith lobbed a few softballs:

    What is your sense from what your own people tell you about the switching that has taken place already in Pennsylvania in terms of Republicans coming over to support you?  What do you know now that you didn't know when you announced 14 months ago? Are you willing to take her up on it? (Hillary Clinton's April Fools Day offer of a “bowl-off.”)

 Over on ABC, Good Morning America hosts Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts today ironically found time to chuckle over a video clip of a baby, just learning to talk, saying “Obama.”  

Does the candidate consider that little boy a “punishment?”

Brian Fitzpatrick is senior editor at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.