Anyone else heard of this?
Apparently Mark Halpern, Political Director of ABC News, authored an internal memo that said ABC should not treat Kerry and Bush equally w/r/t their various misstatements and half truths.
If you follow the link above, there’s another link to the memo – which is pretty much unreadable. However, given that there haven’t been any denials I’ve seen from ABC, it doesn’t seem that they are disputing it.
Here’s the main problematic excerpt:
"It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns - and our responsibilities become quite grave
I do not want to set off (sp?) and endless colloquy that none of us have time for today - nor do I want to stifle one. Please respond if you feel you can advance the discussion.
The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.
Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.
We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, [bold] but that doesn’t mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides “equally” accountable when the facts don’t warrant that. [/bold]
I’m sure many of you have this week felt the stepped up Bush efforts to complain about our coverage. This is all part of their efforts to get away with as much as possible with the stepped up, renewed efforts to win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.
It’s up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right." [Emphasis mine]
This is politics – one expects both candidates to spin their facts and press their claims. Both sides are indeed distorting positions and making too-easy generalizations. However, if the news organizations are going to maintain their facade of impartiality, this sort of thing is unconscionable.
If they want to admit their bias, it’s fine – but once again, another example of how the media treats their customers as morons who don’t have the intellect to see that the media is spinning hard as well.