White House Health Reform Communications Director is Former ABC News Correspondent

By Chris Ariens 

A couple follow ups on ABC’s health care reform special at the White House next week.

• It turns out the Director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform, since last month, is former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass, who left journalism last year to join the Obama campaign. This is leading some to wonder whether ABC News had the upper hand in landing the president for the primetime special as well as an interview on GMA and allowing two ABC News broadcasts to originate from the White House next week. An ABC News spokesperson, however, says there’s no connection between Douglass and ABC’s access. The network approached the administration days after the inauguration and pitched the idea of a White House town hall meeting, says the spokesperson.

• As for the RNC/ABC flap we wrote about earlier, Roy Peter Clark, of the Poynter Institute tells THR: “I see no ethical requirement for ABC to say ‘we’re highlighting the president’s plan today so we need the official Republican response.’ That’s the kind of thing you see on the State of the Union Address. It’s much more important for the network to test the claims the administration makes about its policies — that will be the test of fairness, not some sort of ritual nod to the other side.”