ABC News president David Westin wrote a strongly worded letter, published in today’s New Yorker, responding to the charges raised in columnist Steve Coll’s article last week.
As TVNewser reported, Coll’s column, about ABC’s blurring of the news/entertainment lines with its Gov. Sarah Palin interview, drew the ire of ABC News execs for what appeared to be inaccuracies in reporting the timeline of events.
“Mr. Coll is not entitled to his own version of the truth about how the multiple interviews came to be,” writes Westin.
Coll, in a response letter following Westin’s, cites TVNewser’s interview with World News EP Jon Banner, in which Banner says “there were lots of negotiations in terms of what and when and how,” as bolstering his argument. “ABC aired the first interview on the potent date of September 11th, and the day of her son’s deployment ceremony,” he writes. “The network might have mitigated its choices by asking Palin why she had sequestered herself from the press for two weeks and then granted her first interview on the anniversary of the attacks.”
However Palin’s self-imposed “sequester” Coll describes in his response appears different than his original implication that ABC News had a hand in it.
“Based on his inaccurate reporting of the events leading up to the Palin interview, Mr. Coll draws broad conclusions about our difficulty in discerning the line between ‘news’ and ‘entertainment,'” writes Westin. “ABC News is proud that we make every effort to make sure what we report is true. That is an important part of what we understand reporting the news requires. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Mr. Coll or his publication in this case.”