'Fair and Balanced': Robert Iger Defends ABC's Biased Coverage

Refuses to apologize for ABC backing Obama’s “keep your plan” lie

At Tuesday's Disney shareholders meeting, chief exec Robert Iger defended Disney-owned ABC News for its biased political coverage, refusing to apologize for the network’s support of Obama’s “keep your plan” lie leading up to passage of the bill and insisting his network’s coverage is “fair and balanced.”

As the National Center for Public Policy Research reported, at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting, the National Center’s Justin Danhof questioned Iser about ABC News' clear bias on a few key stories, including the IRS targeting scandal and President Obama’s promise to Americans that they could keep their healthcare plans (a promise that ended up winning Obama the ignominious 2013 Lie of the Year award).

Iger refused to apologize for ABC News’ disingenuous coverage of the president’s false healthcare pledge, channeling Fox News by describing ABC's coverage as “fair and balanced” and insisting that the news outlet behaved in a “high integrity kind of way.”

Danhof’s question included a summary of the polling data surrounding the IRS scandal, underscoring that despite the widespread outcry, ABC News devoted an astonishing “eight words” to the story from July 2013 through January 2014:

A September Rasmussen poll found 53 percent of Americans believe the IRS broke the law and 23 percent aren't sure. A Quinnipiac University poll found Americans 76 percent to 17 percent want a special prosecutor appointed. Even Democrats want a special prosecutor by a 2-1 margin.

Yet from July 2013 through January 2014, a period with over two-dozen breaking stories on this matter, including the Justice Department's appointment of an Obama donor to head its investigation, ABC News devoted a mere eight words to this story. Seven months, eight words.

Danhof then moved to President Obama’s flagrantly false “keep your plan” pledge and ABC News’ empowerment of it leading up to the rollout.

A second example, and then I will stop. In 2009, before the Affordable Care Act became law, Charlie Gibson did an ABC News "Fact Check" segment on President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" promise. ABC reported that critics questioning the President's pledge were wrong to do so.

That's the pledge that later was awarded PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" - but by then ObamaCare was already law of the land.

Danhof then offered Iger the chance to apologize for ABC News’ failure to present the American public with the truth about the president’s false promise:

President Obama has apologized and said he is "sorry" to those who thought they could keep their health insurance "based on assurances" they got from him. Do you wish to say anything right now to the millions of people who unexpectedly lost their insurance - perhaps apologize for the role ABC News played in causing that harm?

Iger, however, refused to apologize, saying he stood by ABC News and found it’s coverage to be presented in “a fair and balanced manner” and the station operating in “high integrity kind of way.”

I actually stand by ABC News, who I believe not only presents the news in a fair and balanced manner, but behaves in a high integrity kind of way. While there are times that critics have come forward and pointed out mistakes they have made, overall, the quality of our news is something we should be proud of.

While Iger may be "proud" of ABC News' work, the bias of its coverage has become too glaring to ignore. As Newsbusters recently reported, ABC News' Nightline has somehow rationalized not covering Obamacare and the problems with its rollout for 123 days...

Here is the audio of the complete Danhof-Iger exchange.