Tonight at 10 Eastern, ABC News anchor Dianne Sawyer will host “Be the Change: Save a Life,” a program which will profile “innovative” solutions to global health problems across Asia and Africa. To accompany what is planned to be a yearlong effort, ABC News is launching saveone.net, a site which will be updated throughout the year with information on health issues in developing nations. That reporting will be combined with the request implicit in the program’s “Be the Change” title and a site which blurs the lines between journalism and activism.
Besser’s regular press conferences at the beginning of the H1N1 outbreak first put him in the national media spotlight, and now he’ll be leaving his post as head of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response to work on the media side full-time.
The Republicans’ objections point to an familiar dilemma: Is there a point at which taking advantage of the administration’s willingness to create media opportunities and provide public access a display of favoritism? Where is the line between government transparency and political gamesmanship? For their part, ABC representatives say the network, not the administration, will choose questions and topics and promises that a full range of views will be represented.
“In the end, no one watching, listening to, or reading ABC News will lack for an understanding of all sides of these important questions,” ABC News Senior Vice President Kerry Smith said in a letter to the RNC.
The audience and questions for the prime-time special will be selected by ABC and only ABC, according to a spokesman, and the goal is to have a balanced broadcast with various views.
The GOP moved to buy ads on ABC to respond to the special, but ABC refused the ads, saying it has a policy against accepting “advocacy advertising.”
The special from the White House is set to air at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with additional coverage appearing on “Good Morning America,” “World News,” “Nightline,” and ABCNews.com’s “Top Line.”