Left-wing media critics are continually fond of pointing out Fox News president Roger Ailes's past as a Republican political operative as some sort of indirect proof that his employees are nothing but Republican robots. The fact is, however, that Ailes is a comparative rarity in the TV business coming at it from the political Right.
The new president of CNN's HLN channel, Albie Hecht, is a perfect example of this fact. As reported by Politico's Dylan Byers, Hecht has made about $45,000 to Democrats and liberal groups over the years:
Hecht is a big donor to Democratic candidates and progressive causes, having given $35,550 in personal contributions over the past 15 years and an additional $11,000 in joint fundraising, according to FEC filings.
Those who have benefitted from Hecht's donations include: The Democratic National Committee ($14,200); the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($10,000); MoveOn.org PAC ($5,000); Barack Obama ($4,550); New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ($3,500); and -- in March of this year -- Newark, N.J., Mayor and Senate hopeful Cory Booker ($1,000).
Hecht is far from the only top executive in the news business who has given big money to left-leaning causes over the years.
Industry veteran Rick Kaplan who has served as president of CNN, MSNBC, and the #2 at ABC News is a long-time friend of former president Bill Clinton who stayed in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House and also gave him advice on how to handle the Gennifer Flowers allegations in 1992 while working as a producer for ABC. In 1999 while president of CNN, he gave a commencement speech in which he blasted Republicans for impeaching Clinton over his lies during the Monica Lewinsky affair.
But that is only just a very tiny summary of his activism on behalf of Democrats, however. Click here to see a much bigger version as recounted by Brent Baker here at NewsBusters in 2007.
In 2004, the obvious left-wing tilt at the top of CBS became a liability for the network while it was embroiled in a scandal in which its long-serving anchor Dan Rather (who had spoken at a Texas Democratic fundraiser) had used forged documents in trying to smear then-president George W. Bush. Digging into the matter, the New York Sun reported at the time that CBS's parent Viacom was a very obviously left-leaning organization with its president, Sumner Redstone, describing himself as a "liberal Democrat" who gave $50,000 to Democratic candidates from 1998 to 2004.
Of the company's 13 board members, according to the Sun, eight primarily had given money to Democratic candidates and party committees. One board member, Joseph Califano, had served as a cabinet officer in the Carter Administration. The one person who had a prominent Republican background, William Cohen, was a former Republican Senator who quit his post to become Defense Secretary in the Clinton Administration.
And of course, let us not forget the founder and former owner of CNN, Ted Turner, a man who has donated millions of dollars to left-wing causes and has a long record of Democratic partisanship.
It certainly is true that a person's personal political views will not always dictate his/her behavior in covering the news but sometimes they do. We are all human beings, after all. That's why it's particularly disturbing that so many news organizations seem unwilling to get some ideological diversity in their executive and editorial teams.