Appearance Alert!
Brent Bozell talks about MRC's "Worst of the Worst 2014" on FNC's Hannity, 10:30pm ET/PT

Gibson Rues Loss of Media Objectivity....Moments After Johnson Pontificates on Health

ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate of government-centered universal health care, again shared his personal view he "absolutely" favors passage of the current ObamaCare bill, though "I would personally prefer to have public option and/or Medicare expansion directly challenging private insurance." Without irony, about twelve minutes later as he signed off as anchor of his final newscast, Charles Gibson promised he's always tried to deliver an "objective" newscast and lamented "objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days."

Approaching Johnson Friday night with liberal complaints the bill has been watered down too much, Gibson related how "the question that I hear most often is, is this bill, without a public option, without an expansion of Medicare, is it better than nothing?" Johnson assured him: "Absolutely, Charlie. We have to remember that doing nothing leaves us with the status quo, a non-system that is headed for financial and health care disaster."

Later, Gibson asserted in his goodbye comments as he retires from ABC News:

I thank you for investing trust in us each evening, trust that we will give you as objective and honest a look at the day's news as we possibly can. Objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days, but it is critically important. It is what we strive for each night.

A striving that too often comes up short.

From BiasAlert on Tuesday night, "Gibson Empathizes with Obama: 'Holy God, What a Weight that Is on Your Shoulders,'" began:

In his swan song interview with President Barack Obama, which consumed more than ten minutes of World News, ABC's Charles Gibson couldn't have provided a friendlier or more empathetic platform to Obama on the "weight" of sending troops to war and how "devilishly difficult" it's become to pass a health care plan because of a few rogue Senators...

From Friday, December 18 the final edition of ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:

CHARLES GIBSON: Tim, where this stands now, the question that I hear most often is, is this bill, without a public option, without an expansion of Medicare, is it better than nothing?

DR. TIM JOHNSON: I would say absolutely, Charlie. We have to remember that doing nothing leaves us with the status quo, a non-system that is headed for financial and health care disaster. The bill addresses two important areas. One, insurance reforms. I'm told there are 400 pages in the bill that address reforms such as getting rid of pre-existing conditions, expanding to 30 million that are not insured. It addresses pilot projects for financial reforms, such as how to shift from a fee for service system which explodes costs to an outcomes payment system. I would personally prefer to have public option and/or Medicare expansion directly challenging private insurance. But what's left is not insignificant.

From Gibson's closing remarks at the end of the newscast:

It has been a privilege and an honor to be here, working with reporters, producers and staff for whom I have unbounded respect. This is, for them, as it has been for me, as it was for Frank Reynolds, as it was for Peter Jennings, a labor of love.

I thank you for investing trust in us each evening, trust that we will give you as objective and honest a look at the day's news as we possibly can. Objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days, but it is critically important. It is what we strive for each night. It is my hope that is what you have looked for and that is what you have found when you've come to ABC's World News. You'll find it with my pal Diane Sawyer, who assumes this chair come Monday...

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center