Thursday, January 20, 2005

Blog Bust: ABC News Sought Info on Military Funerals

It would seems at least one media outlet has picked up on ABC's despicable web page. If anyone knows of any other outlets that have, do post it in the comments. - Sailor

Blog Bust: ABC News Sought Info on Military Funerals
By Kathleen Rhodes Correspondent
January 20, 2005

( - Was it an effort to balance the Inauguration Day news coverage or a cynical attempt to rain on the Bush inaugural parade?

Internet bloggers Wednesday were quick to pick up on a message posted on the ABC News website soliciting information about any military funerals that might be taking place on the same day President Bush was being sworn in to a second term.

The message read as follows:

"Jan. 19, 2005 - For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there (sic) any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below:"

ABC News has not confirmed that it posted the message, but several blogs, including Power Line and San Antonio Express-News Watch spotted the message before it was removed later on Wednesday. One blogger, anticipating that the ABC News message would be taken down, saved the page and was still posting it on the Captains Quarters blog as of Thursday afternoon.

One Power Line blogger blasted the original message by ABC News. "Note that only the families of Iraq war dead need apply. If a soldier died in Afghanistan, or aiding tsunami victims in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, or in a training exercise, never mind. That isn't the 'balance' ABC is looking for," the blog complained.

Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, the parent organization of the Cybercast News Service, said ABC News was trying to divert the public's attention from the inaugural celebrations.

"This seems plausible to me because ABC in particular has been anxious this week to focus on casualties of the war," according to Graham. "I think this is their way of trying to suggest that the president still has a lot of problems out there. But nobody believes Bush's second term will be free of problems or challenges."

He also said the Media Research Center's analysis of network news coverage shows that ABC News has been most critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. "In a weird way, this is their way of punishing Bush for waging war," Graham said.

"The media has a problem in that they think that since the Americans re-elected the president, that they don't understand that people die in wartime," Graham added.

He dismissed the idea that ABC News might simply have been trying to balance its news coverage on Inauguration Day. "They didn't feel the need for that sort of a balance when the president was a Democrat," Graham said.

The web message requesting information about military funerals fit in with other inaugural coverage by ABC News, Graham said. "[Thursday] morning on Good Morning America, there was a set of stories about how lavish the inauguration was. They asked Laura Bush about it, they asked Rudy Giuliani about it. They had a woman who lost her son in the war ... This leans you in the direction that this is what they were looking for."

A telephone call to ABC News in New York City seeking comment for this article was not returned by press time. The liberal media monitoring organizations, Media Matter for America and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), were also asked to comment. Media Matters did not return a telephone message and a spokesman for FAIR declined comment about the controversial ABC News posting.

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