ABC’s WH/Health Care Battle Heats Up Boils Over

The RNC’s new ad that slams “a national TV network” for “turning its airwaves over to President Obama’s pitch for government-run health care.”

In the midst of the RNC’s attack on ABC News for their daylong health care report; planned to air tomorrow from the White House, a group of 40 Republican House members who recently formed the “Media Fairness Caucus,” took a shot at the network. In a letter to ABC, the group blasts ABC’s coverage, calling it “in-kind free advertising for President Obama.”

The members of Congress wrote to ABC News President David Westin:

“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.”

Westin responded, promising a “thoughtful, respectful, and probing discussion of some of the issues raised by the calls for health-care reform.”

Westin wrote:

“We will include a variety of perspectives coming from private individuals asking the President questions and taking issue with him, as they see fit.

Sadly, some inside government and within the private sector see every issue as material for a sort of political high theatre, to be used to gain votes or energize political bases or simply to raise funds. I would have thought that a subject as important as the health care received by the American people would rise above this sorry spectacle. Our citizens need and deserve more. We are proud to be making a serious effort to go beyond mere punditry or stylized, bipolar debate; we are proud to work for a network and a company willing to devote valuable airtime to serious consideration of a subject so worthy.”

Read the full letter from the members of the Media Fairness Caucus HERE and Westin’s reply HERE.