ABC has responded to a TV critic’s bashing of the channel’s coverage of "Good Morning America" host' cancer treatment. ABC News addressed the controversy after renowned columnist Tom Shales slammed the morning talk show for using Roberts’ sickness as a means to boost its ratings.
Tom Shales wrote in a guest posting on critic Roger Ebert's blog he thought "GMA" was cashing in on 51-year-old Robin Roberts’ cancer therapy.
In response to the allegation, ABC News Senior Vice President Jeffrey Schneider told TV Newser that the network coverage was a response to the concern of "Good Morning America" viewers, who were praying for Robin Roberts’ triumph in the battle against myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
Schneider told the news outlet, “To be clear, we are keeping faith with our viewers, who are deeply interested in Robin’s journey.”
"We are also mindful that Robin derives great strength from the overwhelming outpouring of love," Schneider said of the beloved "GMA" anchor, who underwent a bone marrow transplant Thursday in New York. "That Tom wouldn't understand is no surprise around here."
According to Daily Mail, Tom Shales accused ABC of exploiting Robin Roberts’ illness as a “promotional opportunity” in an article for The Chicago-Sun Times.
Shales wrote, “ABC has managed to turn the very serious illness of co-anchor Roberts into a huge promotional opportunity for GMA.”
"On every edition of GMA, there are shout-outs, warm wishes and detailed reports pertaining to Roberts' condition," he added. "She has been seen in remotes from the hospital, and the sympathetic outpourings of viewers have been heavily documented."
Insisting that the criticism was “something that must be said,” the television expert said. “We all wish Robin Roberts well. And we hope she is not being charged with sick days, considering the fact her illness has practically become another character in the show's cast.”
It was not the only criticism he fired at "Good Morning America", as Shales claimed the show is “as newsy these days as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
Popular anchor Robin Roberts announced in June that she was suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome – a rare blood and bone marrow disease previously known as preleukemia. This week, "GMA" viewers watched as her doctor performed a bone marrow transplant.