ABC News Denies Airbrushing Linda McMahon Transcript — Fine, Then Publish the Whole Thing

ABC News has responded, but not very persuasively, to my criticism of its Saturday World News report on the Senate candidacy of Linda McMahon.

An ABC spokesman denied to Daniela Altimari of the Hartford Courant that there was calculation behind the decision not to include in a website Q-and-A the subject of the death pandemic in pro wrestling under McMahon’s stewardship as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

According to the network, the published Q-and-A was “edited for brevity.”

Altimari covers this controversy in a Capitol Watch blog post at the newspaper’s website, headlined “McMahon interview scrubbed? Not so, says ABC News.”

The Courant blog cites both my coverage and that of James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch, and first a word about that. I think my friend James did run a little too hard with my original post about this (“Puff-Piece Trilogy: ABC News’ Softball Linda McMahon Interview With Kate Snow,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/puff-piece-trilogy-abc-news-softball-linda-mcmahon-interview-with-kate-snow/).

I was not claiming that ABC had two transcripts per se. In fact, I thought a death-in-wrestling question was nowhere in the McMahon-Snow interview, but was inserted at the last minute into an Internet-only text article written by a producer. I’ll explain all this in the next post.

But in any event, there’s an easy way for ABC News to clear all this up: publish the whole damn transcript. That’s what the web is for; it’s a universe of infinite editorial space. Removing a question and answer about the occupational health and safety standards of a publicly traded company co-founded and run by a Senate candidate has nothing to do with brevity, and everything to do with substituting cross-promotion of a network personality for serious news judgment.

So how about it, David Westin, president of ABC News? Will you run the entire interview so the voters of Connecticut can see how Linda handled Snow’s full repertoire of pitches, hardball and softball alike? Drop me an email at info@muchnick.net, Dave. I check it regularly.

Irv Muchnick

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