CTIA Asks ABC To Review 20/20 Broadcast
October 13, 1999
ABC denies it spiked a 20/20 segment on alleged mobile-phone health risks because of wireless industry pressure.
Outside lawyers for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association wrote Capital Cities/ABC Inc. President David Westin on Monday to request that the 20/20 broadcast on mobile phones be postponed because of concern that it will not be balanced. ‘‘I ask that you or your designees personally get involved in determining if 20/20’s proposed program on wireless phones meets ABC’s journalistic standards, and that you delay airing of the program until the review is complete,’’ said W. Andrew Copenhaver.
Copenhaver previously represented Food Lion, a North Carolina-based supermarket chain, which won a lawsuit against ABC for the 1992 ‘‘PrimeTime Live’’ probe about allegedly spoiled food. ‘‘Any communications from anyone did not have any impact on when this airs,’’ said Eileen Murphy, an ABC spokeswoman. Contrary to widespread belief that ABC intended to air the mobile-phone segment tonight, Murphy said the piece never was officially scheduled. She said the 20/20 mobile phone expose likely will air next week.
The CTIA letter also accused Dr. George Carlo of ‘‘seeking personal advantage from his statements to 20/20.’’ Carlo has begun marketing materials to consumers on how to make informed decisions about buying wireless phones.