ABC News suspends reporter for network criticism
ABC News suspended veteran correspondent David Wright after a secretly recorded video surfaced in which he criticized 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," a company spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement, and "to avoid any possible appearance of bias, he will be reassigned away from political coverage when he returns."
In the footage, Wright voices harsh criticism against the network for the way it covers political news and U.S. President Donald Trump, in particular. The video also features ABC News producer Andy Fies.
"I feel terrible about it. I feel that the truth suffers, the voters are poorly informed, and people also have the opportunity to tune into whatever they want to hear," Wright said.
"And so, it's like there's no upside in, or our bosses don't see an upside in doing the job we're supposed to do; which is to speak truth to power and hold people to account. ... The fake news abounds. There are problems with the truth these days," he added.
Wright underlined three specific points that ABC News is interested in when covering Trump.
"We don't hold him [Trump] to account. We also don't give him credit for what things he does do. Again I think, some of that at least in the place that I work [ABC News], and places like it, is that we've, with Trump we're interested in three things: the outrage of the day, the investigation, and of the palace intrigue of who's backstabbing whom. Beyond that, we don't really cover the guy [Trump]," he said.
- PRACTICAL ISSUES 'AREN'T 'TV FRIENDLY'
Wright accused the network of not having a bandwidth to give everybody "a fair shot" and downplaying everyday issues which are important to the people.
"It became a profit center, a promotion center ... 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.
"The commercial imperative is incompatible with news. So you know, real people talk about practical issues, when they're thinking about a candidate," he said in the video. "Those things aren't TV friendly things.
"You know we want to focus on impeachment, we want to focus on the big sh*t going on, but the things that help people make up their minds are little sh*t. I think that we don't have the bandwidth to give everybody a fair shot. And we should," Wright said.
- 'I CONSIDER MYSELF A SOCIALIST'
Asked whether he describes himself as a Democrat socialist by a journalist, Wright said: "Yeah. Like, more than that I'd consider myself a socialist, like I think, there should be national health insurance. I'm totally fine with reining in cooperations, I think they're too many billionaires, and I think that there's a wealth gap. That's a problem."
Wright stressed his company is "not terribly interested" in the voters ahead of 2020 presidential elections, digging only for something new to talk about.
"We are all guilty of the same thing. I think that all of this big news organizations, I'm speaking about broadcast television. That's all. I'm speaking about ABC, CBS, NBC," he concluded.
The hidden video released by Project Veritas, an American Right-wing activist group and was filmed in New Hampshire during that state's primary's coverage, according to the group.