Accuracy in Media

As video showed former President George H.W. Bush’s body being removed from Air Force 1 on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, ABC News’s Terry Moran and Devin Dwyer began to talk about where President Trump fit into the proceedings.

“President Trump’s presidency is different. It is, in fact, a repudiation of much of what George Herbert Walker Bush stood for because the people who voted him wanted that repudiation,” Moran said.

“So he is part of that line of presidents, part of the will of the people asserting itself. And I think for all the different kind of president he is … different kind of character, different kind of politician, certainly, than George Herbert Walker Bush … he shares with all the others that he is an expression of the will of the American people.”

As the video showed members of the Bush family arriving on the tarmac, Moran continued.

“There’s continuity and discontinuity, but it’s all because of the decisions voters make,” he said.

“And perhaps,” Dwyer said, “a recognition in terms of his involvement in the proceedings by President Trump that he someday will be getting a similar treatment when he passes.”

Moran then said, “Probably a different tone on that one.”

“Perhaps,” Dwyer said with a laugh.

“First, he’s going to choreograph it so there may be more trumpets and fanfare,” Moran said.

“Yes, he would do it bigger one would imagine. It would be the best presidential funeral ever. No one will have seen anything like that,” Dwyer responded.

“ABC News’ livestream of President George H.W. Bush’s funeral Wednesday took an uncomfortable turn when the panelists joked about President Trump’s future funeral,” wrote Itay Hod and Jon Levine of The Wrap, a left-of-center news and entertainment website, under “ABC News Panelists Covering Bush Funeral Crack Jokes About Future Trump Funeral” – subhead: “Discussion about President George H.W. Bush takes a turn.”

USA Today covered the incident as well with a headline that read: “ABC News panelists joke about Trump planning his funeral during Bush memorial coverage” and a story by Ryan Miller.

“Two ABC News panelists joked about President Donald Trump planning his own funeral during coverage of Former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral on Wednesday,” Miller wrote.

“ABC Faces Blowback as Panelists Joke About Trump Planning His Funeral,” read the headline on Glenn Fleishman’s story on Fortune magazine’s website.

“While many pundits and network commentators spoke of sharp contrasts in the tone, conviviality and respect for the media between the 41st and 45th presidents, some conservative figures took issue with ABC’s chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran imagining Trump calling his own service, ‘the best presidential funeral ever.’”

The story included other significant details as well. Presidents, it pointed out, are asked to plan their memorial services soon after taking office, so President Trump probably has planned at least some aspects of his.

Also, not only did ABC refuse to comment on the story to Fortune, it also declined comment to Fox News, USA Today and The Wrap for their stories.

Fox News’ story, “ABC News’ imagining of President Trump’s vision for his own funeral ‘despicable garbage,’ critic says,” by Brian Flood, included a quote from conservative political comedian Tim Young.

“What this highlights again is the media outrage double standard where you can say basically anything you want about a Republican and get away with it,” Young told Fox. If this had been said of Former President Obama, “there would have been full blocks of TV dedicated to ‘how disgusting they were’ on CNN and forced apologies from their own network.”

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