CINCINNATI (TDB) -- ABC News has revised and updated a story that focused on U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt's attack on Democratic opponent Vic Wulsin as some kind of mad scientist. The changes were made after Wulsin's campaign filed written complaints that hinted at legal action against the network. Wulsin contended the "Investigative Unit" story was a hit piece, and noted the original version contained a quote from her although she had not been interviewed for the story. Wulsin's letter to ABC appeared to threaten future legal action, and said "the real story was that Schmidt sent out a letter including a charge she knew to be false." The latest version of the ABC story is here and now reflects Wulsin's concerns. The original version that appeared on ABC Correspondent Brian Ross's Website was written by Joseph Rhee -- and it has been scrubbed from the television network's portal. A written complaint July 3 from Wulsin's campaign to Ross shows the genesis of the dispute. The Daily Bellwether is reprinting that correspondence below:
"Mr. Ross, I just spoke with Joseph Rhee. He refused to update today's story with the fact that the Ohio State Medical Board concluded there was no merit to the charges Jean Schmidt made in her recent fundraising letter. The Medical Board is an independent panel of experts considered legal finders-of-fact. To not include their ruling would be like writing about the details of a criminal indictment months after a jury had found the defendant innocent and then failing to mention the verdict. I understand your unit's interest in Dr. Heimlich and his crazy ideas, but you should know that Dr. Wulsin is one of the medical experts who has publicly said his ideas are crazy. Moreover, Rhee's piece was ostensibly framed as a news story about Schmidt's use of this false charge in a fundraising letter last month. In a story about one campaign attacking another, I can not believe Rhee did not find is necessary to contact us for comment. Dr. Wulsin made her quotes to you in a different context, a different campaign and under different circumstances. It was simply misleading to include her quotes as if she was responding to Schmidt's recent fundraising letter. The real story is that Schmidt sent out a letter including a charge she knew to be false. Of course, that point isn't at all clear without mention of the Medical Board's findings. Attached, please find a pdf version of a letter issued to Dr. Wulsin from the Medical Board stating that, after a thorough review, any allegations that she acted improperly did not merit investigation. I hope that Rhee's story is removed or updated to fairly reflect the Medical Board's findings before further action is required by our campaign.
Wulsin for Congress"
Wulsin's campaign also shot out this letter to her political supporters that portrayed the Brian Ross piece as unfair journalism. It included the letter to the ABC correspondent:
"Some of you may have already seen the hit piece on Vic running on the ABC News 'Investigative Unit" website. Masquerading as journalism, the piece is basically a campaign ad for Jean Schmidt. It pretends to be a news story about Schmidt making false charges about Vic, but doesn't actually report any news. Rhee, the 'reporter,' did not include the fact that Schmidt knew the Ohio State Medical Board found no merit in the charges when she sent out that letter - in fact, the article doesn't even mention that the Medical Board made a ruling.
"Rhee did not contact our campaign for this story, instead he dredged up quotes Vic made to another ABC reporter a long time ago about something else. Remember this story is supposed to be about Schmidt's letter last month, how could quotes from Vic from before the letter was mailed be used as a response?
Rhee repeated Schmidt's charges that Vic participated in experiments without noting that a representative for Heimlich said she did not participate. When I asked Rhee to correct his story, he threatened to revise the piece to include MORE allegations against Vic
"[Attached] is a letter I wrote to Brian Ross, the head of the "Investigative Unit." We need help to act fast to counter this filth before it festers further. We've already heard that right-wing groups are about to start robo-calls against Vic for this same false charge.
"Please feel free to pass along Brian Ross' contact info (212) 456-7612, firstname.lastname@example.org ) and ask people to demand that he take down this unfair, untrue hit piece against Vic Wulsin."