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View Diary: What you did NOT see on thursday's ABC Nightline!!! (267 comments)

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  •  Got this in my email today (4.00)
    The following was sent to me - I did not write it.

    The article below is an e-mail that I sent to ABC News regarding the so-called "town-hall meeting" I attended last night that was hosted by ABC's Nightline. Please circulate this widely and, by all means, do feel free to leave my name on it, because I have decided to go public in my attacks on this administration and on the mainstream media.

    Thank you for putting my name on the list of "participants" in the so-called Town Meeting special on Nightline. However, I must confess that this edition of Nightline fell far below my expectations. To be more precise, my faith in ABC News and Ted Koppel was totally shattered tonight.

    Unlike the first Town Hall broadcast in 2003, which featured an honest look at the situation at that time and involved REAL discussion and debate on the issues involved, today's Town Hall Meeting on Iraq was not only NOT an open and honest look at the issues involved but, moreover, appeared to be an unabashed effort to justify this administration's policies on Iraq. And, what is even more reprehensible, one which was based on propagandistic rhetoric and fallacious reasoning in arguing in favor of our continued military presence in that country.

    The above was clearly evidenced both in the selection of the panelists involved in the interview AND in the selection of those members of the audience who were permitted to make statements and ask questions, most of whom were military personnel and families who, for the most part, propagandized in favor of our continuing military presence in Iraq and in favor of this administration's strategy to "promote democracy" through the use of military force. In fact, with the exception of two mild regrets expressed concerning this administration's policies on Iraq and the one strong condemnation issued by Senator Schakowsky, NO opportunities were provided to members of the general audience to voice opposing viewpoints.  And what is even more reprehensible were the leading questions and "reframing" of answers by Ted Koppel in response to the few "participants" who dared to question, even mildly, our presence in Iraq, one such case in point being that of the young man who was seriously wounded in Iraq who was quite obviously not happy about the situation of the military in Iraq but who was pressured into saying that we should remain in Iraq.

    And, if that were not enough, NO attention at all was given to the views of the Iraqi people themself nor of the large number of Muslims and other individuals from the Middle East who were present in the audience. In fact, not a single ONE had been selected to speak on their behalf! It was only after it was loudly brought to the attention of Koppel that none of them were being permitted to express their views, that he granted a token Iraqi exile and US Military SUPPORTER  a few seconds only to spew forth propaganda about how grateful ALL the Iraqis are for our military presence there and how much they want us to stay, which most of us know by now is a load of BS!!!!

    In case ABC, perchance, was not aware, the people sitting in the back half of that auditorium were not at all happy about not being allowed to express their views, especially those Iraqis who clearly did not agree with the spin that Koppel and his "participants" were putting on the topic. In fact, it appears that, although we were all asked to write down questions that we would like to ask, the entire exercise was obviously a sham since the real participants who did get to express their views had apparently all been pre-selected.

    The only conclusion that I can draw from what I witnessed at that "town-hall" meeting is that ABC News and/or Ted Koppel has sold out like the rest of the mainstream news media. Town-hall meetings are supposed to be examples of democracy in action at the GRASSROOTS level and that meeting tonight was clearly anything but that. For me, and for many other ordinary, but extremely concerned, viewers in America, ABC News and Nightline represented the only remaining hope for honest news coverage on mainstream television. In fact, as I mentioned in my last e-mail, I have been a long-time supporter of ABC News and especially of Nightline, which has been the only mainstream TV news coverage, apart from PBS, that I have been watching since 911. However, I have now lost faith even in ABC and, above all, in Ted Koppel, whom I earlier considered to be the most outstanding TV news commentator in this country.

    Anyway, I suppose now that I will have to limit my TV news coverage to PBS, and will otherwise have to rely upon NPR and C-SPAN radio, as well as on the foreign written press, since I have neither cable nor satellite television.

    In closing, I cannot begin to convey to you the disappointment and disillusionment that I and many other participants in and viewers of that Town-Hall Meeting hosted by Nightline felt tonight. In short, we felt totally betrayed. I sincerely hope that you will convey our regrets to Ted Koppel and to those in charge of programming news specials on ABC.

    Again, thank you for your time and consideration.

    Chris Tennant
    UN Consultant and former Programme Officer
    Middle East/North Africa Region

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr

    by SarahLee on Fri Jan 28, 2005 at 06:26:44 PM PST

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