Sheldon Alberts has a good editorial on ABC’s decision to become a propaganda organ for the White House tonight:
At the president’s invitation, ABC News anchors Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer will host a prime time town hall-style meeting from the White House during which Obama – and Obama alone – will answer audience and viewers’ questions about efforts to cover 50 million Americans without health care insurance.
Talk about a bully pulpit for Obama to sell his proposal for the creation of a government-run public health insurance plan.
ABC News’ packaging of the health care special also includes a Good Morning America “exclusive” interview with the President on Wednesday morning, a live broadcast of ABC World News from the White House, a full edition of ABC’s Nightline devoted to the issue, an ABC News webcast and an ABC Radio special.
ABC is essentially become a journalistic whore—giving away their credibility in favor of access to their master’s house. Tonight’s programming will be little more than propaganda, despite ABC’s weak promises that they’ll be critical of Obama’s plans, they have not given any airtime for any dissenting voices to Obama’s attempts to “reform” health care.
In short, ABC has decided to become a political propaganda network for the White House. Not only is this blatantly against the “watchdog” role of the press, it also violates the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. That Code requires journalists to “[a]void conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” Here, ABC is trading objectivity for access, but even if they are not, the fact that not a single voice will be given time is more than enough to “perceive” a conflict of interest. The Code demands that journalists “[r]efuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.” Here, ABC is compromising their journalistic integrity in order to curry favor with the Obama White House and gain access to the administration. One could go one, but the point has been made: what ABC is doing is a violation of professional ethics.
It is ironic that a party that has called for a “fairness doctrine” to promote “balance” on the airwaves and criticizes other networks for being “biased” seems to be silent as ABC refuses to give equal time. It only exposes the hypocrisy of those who would censor talk radio to prevent dissenting voices from having a bully pulpit.
This sort of thing should not happen in a free society: and that this is not the product of government coercion is even more distressing. It is one thing to become a slavish propaganda organ for the ruling clique at the barrel of a gun—but that ABC will prostrate themselves of their own volition is even more disgusting.
ABC has no objectivity. They have allowed themselves to become an uncritical propaganda organ for the Obama Administration and should be treated with the same critical eye as one would treat any other state-run propaganda outlet.