Accuracy in Media

ABC News correspondent David Wright was suspended by his employer over remarks he made to a Project Veritas undercover journalist. Wright was caught on secret camera making disparaging comments about President Donald Trump and the cable news network has not said how long he will be suspended.

Wright compared the president to a “nightmare spouse” and that he did not like Trump because he felt Trump is a “dick.”

The correspondent also self-identified himself as a socialist in the recorded video and criticized his bosses at ABC News, “We don’t hold [Trump] to account…We also don’t give him credit for the things he does do.”

ABC News said, “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved.” When Wright returns from suspension, he will be reassigned away from politics since his latest assignment was covering Trump’s presidency.

CNN did not mention Project Veritas by name in its article and criticized the “right-wing activist group” for its “history conducting undercover sting operations against members of the news media.” CNN did not criticize Wright for his biased comments towards Trump, echoing how mainstream media outlets have treated this brand of journalism and chose to direct its ire at Project Veritas. CNN has had its own experience with undercover journalism when several of its employees were caught on video criticizing their employer’s liberal bias.

ABC News made the correct decision to suspend and later reassign David Wright after the recorded video became public to avoid perceptions of biased and unethical journalism. A Poynter faculty member agreed with ABC News’s decision and reminded readers that journalism’s code of ethics advises that journalists should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” Poynter is a nonprofit school for journalism and publishes original journalism pieces and hosts seminars on journalism ethics and values.

Based on ABC News’s statement and Poynter’s comment, Wright’s conduct merited a suspension on journalism ethic grounds and we commend ABC News for making a swift decision about Wright’s conduct. It is also a reminder that the mainstream media is biased and many journalists, editors, and producers hold ideological views that could influence news coverage or phrasing.

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