The ABC News/White House infomercial raises some important questions in journalistic ethics. And the questions arise not just because of the June 24 special, but the totality of the ABC promotional effort — the extravaganza includes local news tie-ins, a dedicated episode of “Nightline,” an exclusive Obama interview on “Good Morning America,” and anchoring “World News” from the White House Blue Room. The fact that the network has decided not to allow any paid advertisements promoting alternative viewpoints is especially noteworthy, and creates a yawning credibility gap. We can only surmise they think this will be ratings gold, and time will tell on that.
It’s bad enough that the news divsion has agreed to become an arm of the White House publicity machine, and that they have banned opposing viewpoints. But we have to wonder what ABC News will not be reporting in the future in order to maintain their special relationship with the Obama team. It is vaguely remeniscent of the deal CNN struck with Saddam Hussein to limit negative coverage in exchange for access. Their credibility was shot after that came to light. From now on the division should be referred to as ABC “News.”