History of the Major Television Networks ABC Part 3

About the history of the major television network ABC or the American Broadcasting Company, behind the scenes and negatives of the network.

INSIDE THE TV NETWORKS

ABC

ABC scooped the other nets in 1953 by first providing coverage of the coronation of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1957 ABC provided a memorable special on the visit to America of the Soviet premier in "Mr Khrushchev Abroad."

In 1960 ABC produced the "Close-Up" documentaries, which included fine coverage of the Cuban revolution and school desegregation in the Deep South.

In August of 1965, ABC did one of the first specials questioning the wisdom of our involvement in Southeast Asia. It was called "The Agony of Vietnam" and was narrated by Edward P. Morgan.

Minus Points: ABC has long been criticized for its violence-laden telefilms, generally the bloodiest on the medium. (The Untouchables reached as many as 8 million juveniles per segment.)

(One ABC telefilm producer, Quinn Martin, told a script writer by letter that more violent action would be needed to satisfy ABC. "I like the idea of sadism," he wrote, "but I hope we can come up with another approach to it.")

A Los Angeles citizen group surveying night time television for one week found that it portrayed 144 murders, 143 attempted murders, 7 cases of torture, 4 attempted lynchings, 1 massacre, and 1 mass murder. ABC was given the lion's share of the credit.

ABC's "happy talk" and "show business" approach to news coverage has long frustrated viewers and affiliates alike.

A Kentucky station executive recently told Business Week, "They've done a hell of a job at ABC in programming and promotion, but their news made no gains at all."

Washington newsmen were long aware that ABC bent over backwards to accommodate Pres. Richard Nixon and received special favors (and exclusive information) as a result.

ABC also seemed more than willing to support unquestioningly government policy in Vietnam in the last years of the war. The network severely censored criticisms of the conflict from one noted 1969 documentary called "Operation Sea War Vietnam."

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