ABC Suspends Journalist After Undercover Project Veritas Nabs Him Admitting Bias

Should he have been treated as a whistleblower? Or is he just as guilty as his network?

By Rachel Alexander Published on February 28, 2020

Journalists have extensive First Amendment rights. But that only means the government can’t restrict what they say. Other people can. Like their employers. Especially their employers: ABC News, in this case.

Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean you should.  Your employer could fire you. But what if you didn’t know what you were saying was being recorded? ABC suspended political correspondent David Wright after an investigative journalist at Project Veritas caught him on undercover video admitting to being a socialist.

But that might not have been the reason. He also admitted that the network spikes news important to voters.

They Oppose President Trump

Wright was covering the New Hampshire primary for Nightline. An undercover reporter from Project Veritas asked him at a hotel bar if he was a democratic socialist. “Oh yeah,” he responded. “More than that I would consider myself a socialist. Like I think there should be national health insurance. I’m totally fine with reining in corporations. I think there are too many billionaires. And I think there’s a wealth gap — that’s a problem.”

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Naturally, he strongly opposed President Trump. He admitted that he and his fellow journalists “don’t give him credit for what things he does do.”

That was as balanced as he got. “We’re in this awkward moment. … We have this [profanity deleted] president, and we can’t figure out how to challenge him.” For reporters, Trump is “the nightmare spouse you can’t win an argument with.”  

For reporters, Trump is “the nightmare spouse you can’t win an argument with.”

Wright complained that “We don’t hold him to account. … We’re not disciplined enough to cut him off, and we second-guess ourselves because we’re sensitive to the accusation that, you know, we’re in the tank for the Democrats. And so, that enables him, and we enable him. And it feels like every time we take the bait on the outrage, we enable him.”

ABC only covers “the outrage of the day, the investigation and the palace intrigue of who’s backstabbing whom. Beyond that, we don’t really cover the guy.”

ABC ‘Became a Profit Center’

“I feel like the truth suffers, the voters are poorly informed,” he said. “Our bosses don’t see an upside in doing what we’re supposed to do, which is to speak truth to power and hold people to account.”

One reason for ABC’s type of coverage? Profits. The network’s news division “became a profit center” and a “promotion center.”

“You can’t watch ‘Good Morning America’ without there being a Disney Princess or Marvel Avenger appearing,” he said. “It’s all self-promotional. And promotion of the company, and also promotion of individuals within the company, as opposed to the kind of dedication to the story, and a commitment to telling stories that we need to tell that are maybe hard to tell.”

He expressed his displeasure with this. “The commercial imperative is incompatible with news,” Wright said.

ABC Responds

ABC issued a response to Wright’s comments on the Project Veritas video. His honesty upset the network. “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved. David Wright has been suspended, and to avoid any possible appearance of bias, he will be reassigned away from political coverage when he returns.”

James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, had an interesting comment. “We commend David Wright for his honesty,” he said.

James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, defended Wright. “We commend David Wright for his honesty,” he said. “No one should be suspended from their job for truth-telling.”

The lefty news site Salon defended Wright for getting the truth out about ABC. “Maybe indiscreetly calling Trump [profanity deleted] could legitimately elicit a talking-to from management. But pretty much everything else Wright said was truthful, if indelicate.”

This isn’t the first time Project Veritas has exposed ABC’s bias. Last year, the investigatory team released video showing Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach complaining about how she had a story three years ago on sex offender Jeffrey Epstein but the network killed it. “It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything,” she said on set on a hot mic.

The fact that both James O’Keefe on the right and Salon on the left both think Wright shouldn’t have been suspended is telling. Should ABC treat him as a whistleblower? Or is he just as guilty as his network?

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Follow The Stream at streamdotorg. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.

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