Watchdogs protest ABC debate


While not being universally panned, the Democratic debate held by ABC Television Network last week (4/16/08) was widely criticized. The result is a click-and-send protest campaign aimed at an ABC exec’s email in-box. Participating in the project are Free Press and StopBigMedia, among others. The target of the campaign is ABC News President David Westin.

The basic text of the message, which can actually be sent to the executive of the sender’s choosing, is this: "The job of media is to give people the information they need on pressing political issues. But the ABC News televised debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in Pennsylvania on April 16 did little to inform and educate the American public. Instead of asking tough questions about important public policy issues our country is facing like the war in Iraq, health care and the economy, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos wasted our time with trivia, manufactured issues and a string of ‘gotcha’ questions designed to entrap the candidates. ABC squandered a valuable opportunity to inform the public during an election year. Use of the public airwaves comes with public obligations. The American people deserve better than what they saw Wednesday night."

The organizing organizations do encourage the clickers/senders to personalize the message.

RBR/TVBR observation: We have to give these organizations credit for directing their campaign directly at ABC. A lot of times such efforts aim at the FCC, which has little oversight authority over broadcast content. The FCC certainly has no say over what questions Gibson and Stephanopolous decide to ask.