May 14, 2003

The Peter Factor

Why are millions of Americans leaving traditional media like newspapers and network news for Fox News Channel and weblogs? The Washington Times reports on one reason - "the Peter Factor."

Additional charges of bias are being leveled against "ABC World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings, this time by Bob Zelnick, a 21-year veteran of ABC News. Just last week, we wrote that Peter Collins, a former ABC News correspondent, said in an interview with Marc Morano, senior staff writer of, that Mr. Jennings manipulated his news scripts. Mr. Zelnick, who became chairman of the journalism department at Boston University after leaving ABC in 1998, has stepped forward now to tell Mr. Morano that Mr. Jennings made it his practice to insert a liberal bias into the news copy of reporters in the field. "It was very common for correspondents, both domestic and foreign, to run into a 'World News Tonight' [staff] that was influenced by Peter, who had a different interpretation of a story," Mr. Zelnick said. "The correspondent who knows that he is going to be doing a piece on 'World News Tonight' girds himself for battle when the phone rings and the editors or sometimes Peter gets on the phone," he explained. Mr. Zelnick called it the "Peter Factor," although he added that "World News Tonight" as a whole "has a tradition of changing the scripts of correspondents, often for stylistic reasons, often for editorial reasons."

Posted by Alan at May 14, 2003 12:23 PM