COLUMN: Will the American Broadcasting Company Get Paid for Supporting Progressivism?
As everybody knows, ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, has been very aggressive in helping far-left politicians and activists, using both the ABC News organization and their prime time lineup to promote left-wing causes. Disney-ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood wants to impose a radical-left agenda on their cable and broadcast networks, and according to that plan, they are making great progress.
While ABC has exercised strict control over content in its prime-time shows favoring conservatives – the network forced Last Man Standing, executive produced by and starring Tim Allen, to alter a joke accusing Barack Obama of having Communist tendencies – it has openly embraced progressive propaganda elsewhere. For example, the network’s Thursday night lineup is almost exclusively produced by noted liberal Shonda Rhimes, has plenty of objectionable dialogue. In a recent episode of the hit show Scandal, for example, a main character is depicted as delivering this “commentary” on the state of education:
A college degree is as essential today as a high-school diploma was 100 years ago. The world is changing, and we have got to change with it. That means that our state colleges and universities should be free for every high-school graduate. My education bill — it’s not revolutionary or radical. It simply finishes what we’ve been working on in this great state for over 300 years — the principle of free education was established in the Pennsylvania constitution of 1790, and in the 1830s, we were one of the first states in the country to actually establish a public-education system. Now, that’s the Pennsylvania my parents moved to. That’s the Pennsylvania I grew up in. That is your Pennsylvania. Smart, generous, civic-minded, forward-thinking… Right.
Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger met with stockholders back in 2014, and there was near revolt from one person when it came to the TV division, especially the ABC network – which includes ABC News. That’s no surprise, as at the time of the meeting, ABC was (and still is) in last place in terms of competition between the big broadcast networks. The National Free Enterprise Project’s Justin Danhof was at that meeting:
DANHOF: 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: 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.
In Iger’s defense, his top priority was bringing Disney’s aging animation division up to date, which he has done to a great extent with recent hits like Frozen, and through Disney’s continued partnership with John Lasseter and Pixar Animation Studios (who, incidentally, oversaw Iger’s animation revamp). Still, Iger should stop denying what Sherwood and his George Soros-funded cronies are doing to the once-great ABC brand. While most television execs would have stopped ABC’s liberal bleed long ago, for fear of alienating conservative viewers, Sherwood seems to be looking for a payoff from the liberal bent – bringing ABC further and further to the left in the hopes that it sparks loyalty among liberals. According to Fox News Channel’s John Gibson, the network has gone so far as to team up with former Obama administration official and Democratic campaign operative Kal Penn to create a sitcom bashing that high-rated cable channel, perhaps hoping to influence people’s opinion of 2016 election coverage.
And, of course ABC would benefit. It’s not a stretch to assume that Sherwood and his mostly liberal colleagues would want to help out Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as much as possible. Iger started his career at ABC: perhaps its time he confronts Sherwood and lets him know that his gamble, turning ABC into a propaganda network pushing a liberal agenda, won’t pay off. After all, in its quest to influence politics and social issues, ABC’s failure would tarnish not just an established television network, but the reputation of Walt Disney’s namesake brand. It’s time for Mr. Iger to hold Mr. Sherwood accountable.