With the help of research materials from Newsbusters and the Media Research Center, the National Center for Public Policy Research (disclosure: my employer) today challenged Disney chief Robert Iger over media bias at ABC News at Disney's annual shareholder meeting.
National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof asked Iger why, as revealed by the MRC, ABC News devoted only 128 seconds to coverage of the IRS scandal from July 2013-January 2014, even though 53 percent of Americans believe the IRS broke the law and even Democrats, by a 2-1 margin, believe a special prosecutor should be appointed.
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Danhof also asked:
In 2009, before the Affordable Care Act became law, Charlie Gibson did an ABC News "Fact Check" segment on President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" promise. ABC reported that critics questioning the President's pledge were wrong to do so. That's the pledge that later was awarded PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" - but by then ObamaCare was already law of the land.
President Obama has apologized and said he is "sorry" to those who thought they could keep their health insurance "based on assurances" they got from him. Do you wish to say anything right now to the millions of people who unexpectedly lost their insurance - perhaps apologize for the role ABC News played in causing that harm?
Iger chose not to apologize for ABC's role as an enabler for White House ObamaCare spin, saying in part,
I actually stand by ABC News, who I believe not only presents the news in a fair and balanced manner, but behaves in a high integrity kind of way.
While there are times that critics have come forward and pointed out mistakes they have made, overall, the quality of our news is something we should be proud of.
I find it interesting that the phrase "fair and balanced" - famously, the Fox News Channel's slogan - came off Iger's tongue so easily, and I wasn't the only one who noticed. So did The Hollywood Reporter.
Is Iger a closet Fox News fan?
The National Center's Danhof also questioned Iger about media bias at last year's shareholder meeting. On that occasion, Iger was more willing to admit to ABC's failings, saying that ABC News has been "guilty of making mistakes."
Iger did twice today say he would pass the National Center's concerns on to ABC News.
Cross-posted at the National Center blog.