The AP’s David Bauder takes a closer look at the TV news coverage of the Obama administration, specifically through two recent specials – “Inside the Obama White House” on NBC and the health care reform special on ABC. Says ABC “World News” EP Jon Banner:
“We will take every opportunity that’s given to us to question the president about the plans he has,” Banner said. “I would not turn any of these opportunities down.”
Obama’s critics have raised questions of fairness. Announcement of the ABC plans set Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in motion trying to raise money to buy airtime for a dissenting opinion on health care.
“The mainstream media has finally decided to dispense with the pointless denial of favorable coverage of the Obama administration,” Steele wrote in a memo to Republicans. ABC countered that it brought in people with disparate points of view to question Obama on health care.
Bauder also talked with NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker about the Brian Williams special.
Some of it played like a valentine, however: See how hard the new president’s staff works! It’s a good bet Obama doesn’t take orders and goes out to buy staff members hamburgers too often when the cameras aren’t rolling. Williams also asked Obama about O’Brien, a clip that allowed for some high-level promotion of the new “Tonight” show host.
While NBC has taken similar insider looks at past presidents, they got one prime-time hour. Obama got four.
“Are you going to blame NBC for giving that much time to a very exclusive, interesting and revealing look behind the scenes at the White House? Compared to what, more of ‘The Biggest Loser’?” Whitaker said.