This is a textbook example of how a dishonest news enterprise will employ deceit in pursuit of a partisan agenda. All it takes is an absence of conscience and ethics, and an intent to deliberately mislead your readers.
Ever since ABC announced that they would host a health care themed town hall from the White House, the conservative media machine has been blasting the move as evidence that the media is “in the tank” for Barack Obama. In an effort to advance this theory, the Washington Times commissioned a study by the Center for Responsive Politics on the campaign donations made by ABC employees.
The conclusion, as represented by the Times, was that ABC is a partisan operation that is unfit to call themselves a news service. They cited data from the study that said that over $124,000 was donated by ABC employees to Obama, as compared to about $1,500 to McCain or other candidates. In addition, they sought comments from Dan Gainor of the Business & Media Institute, a far right-wing group affiliated with ultra-conservative Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center. Gainor said that…
“ABC is in bed with their source, so to speak. ABC is supposed to be a news organization, not a producer of infomercials for national health care. And I wonder what they would have done if the Bush administration had asked for positive programming to support the war on terror or Social Security initiatives.”
Gainor couldn’t have come up with two worse examples to make his point. The Bush administration asked for, and received, multiple programming opportunities to hawk his war mongering and Social Security privatization schemes – including one-sided town halls and air time on both broadcast and cable networks.
However, the New York Observer obtained the same study from the CRP and discovered what the Times had conveniently left out. As it happens, the vast majority of the donations cited in the study were from ABC employees who had nothing whatsoever to do with the production of news. The actual breakdown revealed that, of the $124,000, only $885 came from the news division.
The Times was surely aware of these facts, they simply decided to misconstrue them in order to mislead their readers and promote the false allegation of partisanship on the part of ABC News. It is this sort of brazen dishonesty that makes one wonder why anyone would give credence to anything published by the Washington Times.