CJR wonders if ABC is lazy or just using desperate ratings bait

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In response to my recent criticism of the schlock on their show, an ABC spokeswoman told the NY Post that:

“Good Morning America” is “committed to providing the most timely and relevant medical reporting. Led by Dr. Tim Johnson, our medical unit is the best in the business and strives to make sense of the complicated health issues on the nation’s agenda.”

Well, it wasn’t me, but CJRDaily.org that ripped them a new one this time. Excerpt:

ABC News’s constructive contribution to health care reportage this morning on Good Morning America, above the unintentionally(?) maddening chyron “THE GREAT DEBATE: Is this the way to reform health care?”:

GMA’s CHRIS CUOMO: By anybody’s reckoning, this is certainly a battle between messages, really. So let’s bring in two masters of political messages to join us this morning. We have Ann Coulter, author of Guilty, Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America, and in Washington, GMA contributor, Democratic strategist, Mr. James Carville…..

Why, GMA, why? Laziness? A throwing-up-of-the-hands? Desperate ratings bait? (Or, maybe health care reform really isn’t a “journalism-friendly story,” to the extent one regards morning news shows as involving “journalism.”)

And the Carville-and-Coulter-on-Health-Care-Reform segment proceeded just about how you might imagine, with Cuomo kicking things off by asking, “With what we see with these [town hall] demonstrations, is this proof that the president has lost control of this debate?…And he’s spinning out of control?” (and then later complaining that Carville “isn’t dealing with the issue on the table, isn’t talking about health care,” as if that were what Cuomo asked about, let alone what a segment involving two “masters of political messages” would ever hope to achieve). And, Coulter compared what “Obama is saying” about health care reform to a “chocolate cake” “diet plan.”

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Paul Scott

August 12, 2009 at 11:43 am

I admire your willingness to watch and comment on this horrible entertainment segment, but personally I would rather have a spike driven through my head. “Why GMA, why?” indeed…Personally, my distress rises too high upon the sight of Diane Sawyer, followed quickly thereafter by Geoprge Stephanopolous, two ostensibly bright people with full, richly intellectual lives, who seem to want nothing more than to be in front of a camera with their lips flapping. I am always a bit aghast when my bright friends ask me whether I am tiring of the latest hysteria on cable news. You could turn it off, you know, I want to say. You could disocnnect the service and watch Jon Stewart on Huffington Post and buy the Mad Men box set. But I think the power of this networkl/cable health reporting carnival to vulgarize everything won’t cease until a critical mass of creatives and influencers realize that the entire medium is populated with incurable attention seekers, kind of like all star wrestling.