But this same David Westin now sees no need to be neutral and independent and objective. Pressed about his GOP-free town hall meeting with Obama in prime time to promote socialized health care, Westin spit on the notion of "neutered" journalism in an interview on National Public Radio. "Implicit in some of the criticism is the notion that true journalism consists of having neutered journalists act as a referee between two opposing partisan viewpoints."
No one would mistake ABC for a referee. You don't hire Cuomos and Clinton press aides as "news" providers and then claim neutrality without inspiring giggles.
Sigh. It would be nice if the news media behaved like referees, without a rooting interest in one party or the other. But for decades now the networks have been trying to shove their own political preferences down the throats of viewers. They unabashedly seek to make instant legends of the politicians they like (Barack Obama), while destroying the ones they don't (Sarah Palin).
Westin also complained that people who have enough audacity to complain about offering large chunks of prime time to a liberal president are just "gaming" the system. "I am also mindful that there are going to be a certain gaming of the officials in this matter, that the louder people complain, the more they think we may bend over backwards the other way. Our job is to try to keep it right down the middle."
Who is Westin to claim that someone else is "gaming" officials? As if ABC slavishly offering chunks of their prime-time schedule to Team Obama isn't focused on gaining more access and exclusives from the White House? Or do they offer all that free airtime because they're philanthropists, and enacting liberal legislation on health care is clearly in the public interest? How is all that free airtime keeping it "right down the middle"?
White House reporters may be getting fed up with presidential stage management, and that is good. But at the top of the "news" food chain, the executives and the anchormen are still unashamed to offer Obama a stage and let him manage them.