Of course I dont care much for network news, and ABC gives CBS a run for the title of having the worst bias, but Peter Jennings was a gentleman. Through a long chain of events that take too long to recount, I got to meet Jennings and spend an hour talking with him in his office at ABC in New York back in the fall of 1993. He couldnt have been nicer or more cordial, even though I was there to argue with him and his chief producer about their coverage of health care issues and other things. (This was during the run-up to Hillarycare.) He fiddled with his Dunhill cagarette pack through much of the conversation, I remember.
One thing that became apparent from our conversation was the insularity of network news. Jennings asked what was the leading conservative idea for health care. I told him, "medical savings accounts." "Never heard of it," he said, which struck me as rather amazing since he had had John Goodman of the NCPA, one of the inventors and popularizers of the idea, on a townhall show that he (Jennings) had hosted, and had obviously not absorbed a thing Goodman had said. But recall that TV news people have an earpiece in their ear, and listen more to producers than to the guests, as their fundamental obligation is to keep the show moving along. This all goes to remind us that even TV news is show biz.
Jennings also said he respected the critiques of the Media Research Center, the conservative media watchdog. Yet when the Republicans captured Congress a year later, he seemed to move more overtly to the left, comparing the election result to a childs temper tantrum.