Media Bias: As much of the U.S. private sector, including health care providers, resists government takeovers, what a sorry sight to see ABC News leap forward to make itself a propaganda arm of the government.
But that's the story as ABC crosses the line from journalism to advocacy in turning its coverage of health care over to the White House.
This Wednesday, on every show from "Good Morning America" (kicking things off with an interview with the president) to "World News Tonight" (broadcast from the Blue Room) to a prime-time special called "Prescription for America" (and emanating from the East Room), the network will puff the Obama administration's trillion-dollar plan to nationalize U.S. health care.
The all-day, White House-based coverage itself amounts to a nationalization — this one of a major media outlet in support of an administration that will return the favor for access at the cost of objectivity and the public's right to know.
Don't think it isn't. This isn't your grandfather's propaganda. Forget public service announcements. Just as some newspaper ads trick themselves up to look like news stories to enhance their credibility, making a partisan program indistinguishable from the nightly "news" is a propaganda tool in the same vein.
Nobody has figured this out better than Barack Obama's political operation, which has manipulated almost all the mainstream media since he began running for the presidency.
Under the cover of news, ABC can present the president's side of the health reform issue as "factual" and leave out the real costs and concerns about government control and rationing of health care. Personal stories that tug at the heartstrings will be featured prominently, as will unchallenged canards about the wonders of socialized medicine.
Long and repetitive coverage will numb the public into thinking all sides have been explored. A token few seconds of time given over to a critic or two will enable ABC to call its coverage "fair." But expect the opposition to be portrayed as heartless or wacko.
The only thing such propaganda can't do is admit its real aims.
ABC insists it will present a balanced picture — as balanced, we suppose, as the political contributions of ABC News employees who gave 80 times more to Obama's campaign ($124,421 to $1,550) as they did to his opponent, John McCain.
With numbers like that, it doesn't take a genius to know what ABC's political atmosphere is like. In any case, ABC's output speaks for itself. The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute has shown that in the first half of 2009, ABC sources quoted in health care stories shilled for ObamaCare 55 times to its opponents' 18 — a 3-to-1 margin.
The best proof that the public is getting propaganda is that ABC is refusing to take ads from critics who are offering to pay for them. Among those turned away: the Republican National Committee and a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights.
"Our organization is more than willing to purchase ad time on ABC to present an alternative viewpoint, and our hope is that ABC will reconsider having such viewpoints be part of this crucial debate for the American people," said Rick Scott, group spokesman.
This is a disgrace. Much of the U.S. private sector, from banks to automakers to hospitals, have resisted a government takeover, seeking to maintain their independence. Only the media, which should be the most independent of all, haven't.
ABC's capitulation contrasts sharply with the efforts of other broadcasters such as radio's Rush Limbaugh and TV's Fox News to defend themselves against the so-called Fairness Doctrine and personal attacks from White House staff bidding to silence them.
It also contrasts with brave media outlets overseas, including Globovision, Venezuela's last remaining independent TV station, which is defying Hugo Chavez's goons, or Iran's Twitterers and Facebookers defying the mullahs.
It all amounts to a sad corruption of American journalism. Once upon a time, people would go into journalism to expose the seamy underbelly of American politics. Today, ABC News, in its abject submission to the Obama administration on health care, has decided to become the seamy underbelly.