ABC's "World News" is supposed to be above the fray, right? According to "World News" executive Jon Banner, his program didn't jump into covering the recent ACORN scandal because it is "not in the business of noise."
And yet on Sept. 20, ABC compromised the quiet dignity of "World News" by discussing health care reform with Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi, a man that claims Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is responsible for every recession since the 1930s and specializes in personal hyperbolic attacks on conservative public officials, misogynistic sliming of conservative writers and in 2005, had even penned a column that celebrated 52 funniest thing about the pending death of Pope John Paul II.
Earlier in the day, on four Sunday morning network news programs, President Barack Obama had urged the media not to engage in Taibbi's specialty. The networks shouldn't air rude, angry political behavior, because that only encourages it, the president said. ABC must have missed that memo.
"I'm not really sure what the point of it is," Taibbi said of the president's interview blitz. "I mean I don't see that President Obama is suddenly going to get this avalanche of Republican support for this bill and the people that I really think he needs to convince are the progressives in his own party not to abandon the bill. And he really isn't talking so much to those people as he is to his Republican opponents."
Taibbi used the criticized Sen. Max Baucus', D-Mont., bill, which would require citizens to purchase health insurance. According Taibbi, without the "public option," it's just a subsidy for big business.
"Of course it's a tax," Taibbi said. "It's using the power - it's worse than a tax. It's using the power of the state to force people to be customers of a private company. Without a public option, without single-payer health care that's really going to drive the cost of health care down, all this really is - is a giant subsidy for insurance and pharmaceutical companies."
In Taibbi's view, by campaigning for the Baucus bill that the president, Obama is in danger of losing the far-left wing of this own party.
"I think there's a strong possibility that this bill is not going to pass because he's going to get defections from progressives in his own party," Taibbi said. "I know of 50 or 60 votes in the House he might not get and there are at least 10 or 15 in the Senate that he might not get."
Taibbi's counterpart during the segment, Tara Wall, a former deputy editor at The Washington Times, told "World News" something would eventually be passed to claim action on health care reform.
"Well, I think at the end of the day something will happen," Wall said. "It may not be right away and it certainly won't be in what the administration expects. But I think at the end of the day, we will have some type of health reform."