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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Thursday, November 7, 2019
ABC News' STANDARDS And The Jeffrey Epstein Story
Illustration on ABC’s journalistic standards by Linas Garsys Tim Young
Project Veritas released a damning video this week of ABC News’ veteran anchor and journalist Amy Robach ranting about having had the story of Jeffrey Epstein 3 years before it came to light.
On set with the cameras recording and a hot microphone, Ms. Robach frustratingly discussed the story being held back from the public, “I’ve had the story for three years … we would not put it on the air … It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything.”
After the video broke, Ms. Robach and ABC News responded with statements. Both were predictably generic and had clearly gone through both ABC’s public relations and legal team. The most interesting statement that stood out from the ‘we did nothing wrong’ blather was ABC News’ first line, “At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air …” This led me to question what exactly are these “standards” by which ABC News chooses to operate. In order to assess them, one merely needs to look at what stories they have chosen to report on in the recent past.
If the standards that they are discussing include the ability to verify the information that they are looking to present, then there is no better example than their story about Turkish troops violently attacking Kurds in northern Syria just a few weeks ago. Their 2-day coverage included a violent looking video that they claimed to be from Syria’s border. It was quickly discovered that this video wasn’t an attack and wasn’t even from the region, it was a nighttime machine gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky. ABC News clearly had not taken any time to verify the video; they simply ran with it and its accompanying story.
If the standards that ABC News’ mentions is verifying their sources before airing a story, we could point to their non-stop 2.5-year coverage of President Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russian government. Surely, in a world of news programming with high standards where one needs to verify sources and stories before they move forward in publishing them, they would have dug deep enough to realize that perhaps there was some doubt that there was any collusion at all. Instead, viewers were given a foregone conclusion over an over again that the Trump presidency was a product of the Kremlin.
As we all found out, there was absolutely no collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia, so the sources they were citing — who were typically anonymous — were wrong, but the story met ABC News’ standard for air.
If ABC News’ standards in covering alleged sexual assault victims were equal across the board, one would only need to follow their coverage of the confirmation hearings of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Christine Blasey Ford came forward to testify that he had allegedly sexually assaulted her with no corroborating evidence, and other women followed suit with even wilder claims. In each of those instances, nothing could be verified, but ABC News ran with the stories as absolute fact. Those stories met the ABC News standard for air, but Amy Robach’s story on Jeffrey Epstein, in which she had clearly spoken to multiple witnesses and amassed a pile of evidence that affected multiple victims somehow didn’t.
And if ABC News’ standards for air include covering only stories that were deemed newsworthy to the American public, one can look at two in the past week. The first was the rabid debunking of President Trump posting a clearly fake photograph of himself giving the dog who helped capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a Medal of Honor.
The second was a story about Hunter Biden meeting and marrying his wife (reported on by Ms. Robach herself). Two non-stories that would leave many Americans shrugging and saying ‘who cares?’ were given prime time coverage by ABC News.
An obviously photoshopped dog picture and Hunter Biden’s wedding were viewed as newsworthy, but a billionaire running a pedophile sex ring for other billionaires and world leaders including, as Ms. Robach acknowledges, Prince Andrew and “Clinton,” did not meet the ABC News’ standard for air.
It leaves me to ask, what exactly are ABC News’ “standards to air” ?
Was the story not verifiable enough?
Were the sources not good enough?
Were the standards of covering alleged sexual assault victims different?
Was it not newsworthy? Or was it something else?
If you ask me and many Americans after watching the leaked video, it was clearly something else.