In an apparent attempt to further push a controversial healthcare agenda, the White House has essentially given the American Broadcasting Company an all-access-pass through its well guarded doors. Deep from within the walls of the White House, ABC playing the part of a the reciprocating lover appears to be planning on delivering world news and an exclusive primetime special dubbed “Prescription for America” sans any oppositional voice.
Seeming to be concerned over NBC’s lack of objectivity and partisanship the Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay has written a letter of objection to David Westin the president of ABC News stating as reported by Drudge Report :
“Dear Mr. Westin:
As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC’s astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.
Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party’s opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.
In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff”
In response Kerry Smith Senior Vice President of ABC News is quoted saying that the RNC complaint contained “false premises” and further added:
“ABCNEWS prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers — of all political persuasions — even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum. ABC NEWS is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue.”
“ABC NEWS alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience.”
Personally I’m not buying that ABC News “prides itself on covering all sides of important issues” or that they’re “looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue.” Especially in light of the fact that Dr. Timothy Johnson ABC News Medical Editor Is one of the leading participants in ABC’s primetime healthcare special “Prescription for America.” In regards to President Obama’s address to the American Medical Association in Chicago Dr. Timothy is quoted by the Media Research Center as saying that it was “a very tender moment,” and that it “was right on target at reaching out to the heart of most physicians.” Well, his position certainly seems clear enough; one can only hope ABC News will give a fair amount of oppositional opinion to its audience. However, as for me, I’m still left with the lingering question “Is it ABC News or OBC News now?”