Some people are accusing ABC News of intentionally omitting high wire walker Nik Wallenda's religious remarks as he walked across Niagara Falls Friday evening.
Wallenda was given a microphone while performing his stunt as part of the live ABC television program special "Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls." During the stunt, Wallenda – who is the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on high wire – frequently mentioned God and Jesus, such as one line where he stated "Praise You, Father God! Praise You Jesus!" However, in an ABC News live blog written up by Ali Gazan, no mentions or acknowledgements were made of these remarks.
Gazan's live blog posted updates starting at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, with a countdown until the tightrope walk was to begin, and concluded around 11:00 PM. During the posts, Gazan wrote updates on what was taking place as well as quotes from Wallenda and others. One update did mention the Wallenda family praying together for the safety of Nik.
The comments section for the live blog included expression of disappointment that Wallenda's religious remarks made during and after his historic stunt were omitted.
"How come this blog leaves out the part about him praising Jesus? All the details are complete, except this is noticeably left out. Are you that uncomfortable typing the name of Christ?" wrote a commenter identified as "Country Girl."
"Really – nothing mentioning the numerous times he praised Jesus or Lord and Savior and not a word is spoken about it. What the heck is up with that???," posted "Nancy Wilson."
Wallenda's high wire walk across Niagara Falls was a major ratings success for the network. According to a press release, the "Megastunts" live program had approximately 13.1 million viewers.
"With coverage of daredevil Nik Wallenda's historic high wire walk directly over the precipice at Niagara Falls, ABC won Friday evening by huge margins over its nearest competitors with Total Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54," read the ABC News release.
"In fact, ABC's Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls stood as the most-watched non-sports summertime (Memorial Day-Labor Day) telecast on the major networks since at least 2006."
In a press conference after completing his stunt on live television, Wallenda explained the importance of faith in his life.
"Faith plays a huge role in what I do. I believe that God has opened many doors for me in my life and this is one of them," said Wallenda, adding that "Praise God here I am in one piece."
"To inspire people around the world that again the impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it and reach for your goals."
Nik Wallenda is the great-grandson of Karl Wallenda, a noted funambulist who frequently performed without a safety net.