ABC’s ‘IN­FOMER­CIAL’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - / Bruce Tins­ley

A plan by ABC News to run an “in­fomer­cial” in sup­por t of Pres­i­dent Obama’s health care plan trou­bles at least one for­mer White House press sec­re­tary.

Dana Perino, who served as press sec­re­tary for Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, ex­pressed surpr ise that ABC would r isk throw­ing away any claim to po­lit­i­cal im­par­tial­ity by go­ing to the White House June 24 to broad­cast “World News” and a prime-time spe­cial on the pres­i­dent’s na­tional health care plan.

“An­other day, an­other con­tro­versy about the me­dia. The net­works and news­pa­pers con­tinue be­ing the sub­ject of the news. This comes as the pro­fes­sion’s cred­i­bil­ity re­gard­ing bias hangs in the bal­ance and its busi­ness mod­els are be­ing up­ended by new ways of get­ting peo­ple in­for ma­tion,” Mrs. Perino said June 16 in a blog at Na­tion­al­Re­view.com.

“I’ve of­ten worked with ABC and have long ad­mired the qual­ity of jour­nal­ism the net­work pro­duces across its plat­forms. This de­ci­sion, how­ever, trou­bles me,” Mrs. Perino said.

“I like a ro­bust de­bate, and fi­nally we’re start­ing to see some re­ally good re­port­ing on the mer­its of the pres­i­dent’s re­form pro­pos­als. Judg­ing by the re­ac­tion, peo­ple don’t seem to like what they’re lear ning. And some may feel like they’ve not been get­ting the full story about how much the re­forms will cost them. Now that that cat’s out of the bag, their skep­ti­cism is ris­ing. It’s no won­der the White House wants to open its doors to ABC for a large-scale PR push.

“Per­haps ABC will help pro­vide more clar­ity and ‘se­lect’ peo­ple who will ask tough ques­tions; how­ever, no mat­ter how tough the ques­tions are, Pres­i­dent Obama will have home­field ad­van­tage. And it’s hard not to look like you’re in the tank when you’re an­chor­ing from the Blue Room.”

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