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ABC and the White House



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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 information.

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.

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 learning. 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 home-field advantage. And it’s hard not to look like you’re in the tank when you’re anchoring from the Blue Room.

President Obama gets to lead the news with his announcements every night. What might provide a more informed debate would be to use ABC’s considerable resources to go outside the Beltway and Manhattan and see what the rest of America is thinking about health-care reform.

— Dana Perino served as the White House press secretary for President George W. Bush.



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