No one was more over the top in praising ABC's Martha Raddatz as debate moderator than her colleagues at ABC. Former ABC News president David Westin -- the man so deeply biased to the left that he declared a journalist can't judge if the Pentagon is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack -- honored Raddatz on The Huffington Post with an article titled "Why and How Martha Won the Debate -- Over Media Bias."
He said the public reaction was "overwhelmingly favorable," and then guess who he quoted? "I vote for Martha Raddatz to moderate all the debates," from Roger Ebert. "Everyone seems to agree that @martharaddatz is the star of this debate," from Charlie Rose. Liberal opinion equals public opinion?
For the past two weeks, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27.
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 2000, you can find them here. Today, the worst bias of 2001, including shocking displays of moral equivalence after 9/11 and Dan Rather’s salute to Bill Clinton’s honesty. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Appearing as a guest on Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN to plug his book, Exit Interview, former ABC News president David Westin recounted his decision to continue barring journalists from wearing American flag lapel pins on air even after the 9/11 attacks, and ended up defending his decision. Westin: (Video at bottom)
Appearing on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former FNC anchor - and former ABC correspondent - Brit Hume recounted the liberal bias many journalists exhibit in how they treat wealthy Republicans versus wealthy Democrats.
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to promote his book, Exit Interview, former ABC News president David Westin denied seeing a liberal bias among his colleagues when he was head of ABC News, and, when confronted by a recent study by the MRC's Business and Media Institute, rationalized the greater attention the media have paid to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's wealth this year as opposed to Democratic nominee John Kerry's wealth in 2004.
Reporting ABC News President David Westin's plan to step down at the end of the year, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz noted “some early missteps” during his 13-year tenure, such as “a comment after the Sept. 11 attacks, for which Westin apologized, that journalists should offer no opinion about whether the Pentagon had been a legitimate military target.”
That apology was promoted by an MRC CyberAlert item in October of 2001 which put into play an answer Westin delivered during a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism seminar. Barely six weeks after the 9/11 attack, Westin was remarkably reticent about expressing an opinion, contending that's improper for a journalist to do so – how quaint:
The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people....As a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
ABC should seize the opportunity to replace Westin with a president who will deliver what the American people want and deserve – real journalism. It’s ABC’s only glimmer of hope for surviving in the news industry.
The network news divisions are enjoying the unprecedented coverage they're providing President Obama, not just because they support him, but because White House specials are cheap and do well in the ratings. "Obama should change his middle name from Hussein to Nielsen," quipped longtime TV reporter Gail Shister in a story by David Bauder of the Associated Press. It seems like a never-ending spin cycle: laudatory coverage leads to popularity, which leads to higher TV ratings, which leads to more laudatory coverage.
But it's not working any more. Behind the glittery curtains, Obama's polls are falling. Worse, some ink-stained wretches are getting a little sick of the propaganda merry-go-round. Helen Thomas and CBS reporter Chip Reid both slammed press secretary Robert Gibbs on the hermetically sealed "town hall" meeting on health care in Annandale, Virginia, where all the questions and questioners (and president-huggers) were carefully screened to make sure no one burst the bubble of Barack's astonishing cool.
But the network chieftains continue to be unapologetic, even insulting when questioned about their laudatory coverage of the White House.
It seems that congressional criticism about the fairness of the ABC News Obamacare show tonight has struck a nerve in the president of that organization, David Westin to such an extent that he has responded via letter in a less than pleased manner. What sparked this testy reaction was a letter signed by 40 members of Congress that was sent yesterday by the Congressional Media Fairness Caucus to ABC News president, David Westin, criticizing the fairness of the health care special:
Dear Mr. Westin,
Health care reform is an extemely complex issue involving one of the largest sectors of the economy. Directly or indirectly, it will touch the lives of all Americans. The decision by ABC News officials to devote an entire day, June 24, to the "President's health care agenda" culminating with a primetime healthcare "town hall" gives the American people a slanted view of an important subject.
The manner in which the news programming is being presented – at the White House with the president and first lady and without opposition – is unprofessional and contrary to the journalistic code of ethics to present the news fairly and independently. This is not a presidential news conference open to all news outlets. This is an exclusive arrangement from which the president and his viewpoint stand to gain. It's as if ABC News is providing in-kind free advertising for President Obama.
With each passing day, ABC's failure to speak to and about this issue tarnishes further the network's reputation as a legitimate news entity. I've sent a personal letter to Mr. Westin, calling on him now as President of ABC News, to publicly address and resolve this issue. If the charges are false, provide the evidence. We will gladly accept it and consider the matter closed. If the charges are correct, then ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively.