Disney’s Iger Concedes Mistakes Were Made
Natl Center For Public Policy Research | March 9, 2013
Walt Disney Company Criticized for Anti-Christian, Anti-Conservative Bias at ABC and ESPN at Shareholder Meeting
Shareholders Cheer Questioner
Iger Responds: “We Have Been Guilty of Making Mistakes”
Phoenix, AZ/Washington, DC - Today at the just-concluded annual meeting of Disney shareholders in Phoenix, in response to questions about anti-Christian and anti-conservative bias at ABC and ESPN from an attorney with the National Center for Public Policy Research, Disney CEO Robert Iger conceded that Disney’s news media operations have been guilty of bias and inaccuracy, but he stopped short of saying how the company is addressing the problem.
Iger conceded that “we have been guilty of making mistakes” and further said, “we have, at times, either presented the news in… a slightly inaccurate way through mistakes or in ways we weren’t necessarily proud of.”
“Shareholders in attendance at today’s meeting heard, and loudly cheered, my call for a return to objective news reporting. And even as he defended the body of ABC’s and ESPN’s work, Mr. Iger acknowledged that bias and inaccuracy has been a problem. That’s good, because the first step toward fixing a problem is admitting you have it,” said Justin Danhof, director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project. “We now expect to see improvements.”
An audio recording of the exchange, including applause and cheers from shareholders as the question is asked, and more subdued applause following the reply from Mr. Iger, can be heard here, a transcript of Mr. Iger’s response can be found here and a copy of Justin Danhof’s question, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
“Shareholders came up to me after the meeting to congratulate me for making these points,” added Danhof. “Two shareholders literally patted me on the back. ‘All news is subjective and opinion-based,’ they told me; they want ‘to hear the news, not someone’s opinion.’ I’ve been to shareholder meetings before. I’ve had people come up to me afterward to agree with my question, but I’ve never had a room burst into applause and cheers before.”
“I suggested to Mr. Iger that bashing conservatives is not a winning corporate media strategy,” said Danhof. “I suggested that since almost twice as many Americans identify as conservative than as liberal, ABC News and ESPN could appeal to a broader base of potential viewers if they stopped denigrating traditional conservative values.”
“This is a far cry from the reaction we got in 2009 , when our representative, Tom Borelli, received the so-called ‘f-bomb’ from Mr. Iger,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “We see this at many shareholder meetings. First executives deny any problem, then lash out at us, then they finally admit an issue exists and accept that errors were made. It takes a while to make progress, and when it comes to fighting corporate acceptance of its own media bias, we have a long way to go yet. But progress is progress. We’ll look now for more transparency from Disney about how it handles its most egregious instances of anti-Christian and anti-conservative bias, indeed, of any of its bias, moving forward; and we’ll be watching to see if ABC and ESPN start becoming more objective.”
A recent Rasmussen poll found that only six percent of the American public considers the media to be very trustworthy, while 42 percent do not trust the media to tell them the truth at all. Media bias also has a profound impact on local and national elections, with 47 percent of Americans agreeing that media bias is a bigger problem than money in political elections.
“From ABC News Reporter Brian Ross gleefully rushing to the camera to try to blame the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting on the Tea Party, to ABC News viciously attacking Pope Benedict XVI and strongly advocating President Obama’s gun-control agenda , to then-ESPN commentator Rob Parker suggesting that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is a ‘cornball brother’ who isn’t down with the black ’cause’ because his fiancee is white and Griffin may be a Republican, Disney’s media networks frequently vilify conservatives and do the bidding of far-left politicians,” said Danhof.
“Calling the Tea Party racist is not objective, referring to the Tea Party in vulgar, sexual terms is not objective, bashing traditional Christian beliefs is not objective, advocating for gay marriage and gun control is not objective,” said Danhof.
To learn about more instances of Disney’s anti-Christian and anti-conservative bias, read the National Center’s press release issued just prior to the Disney shareholder meeting, which can be found here.
The National Center for Public PolicyResearch is a Disney shareholder.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank in the ideological tradition of Ronald Reagan. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4% from foundations, and less than 2% from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.
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