Given ABC’s choice of debate moderators, the likelihood of left-wing bias during the ABC/Univision Democratic debate is already well established. But it turns out, at least 29 executives from ABC, or parent company Disney, have donated to Democratic candidates.
The donations were listed in second-quarter FEC filings that spanned Jan. 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019. During that time frame, no donations could be found from ABC or Disney executives to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Most of the 29 executives held entertainment roles with Disney Television Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Disney+ and Twentieth Century Fox, including high level executives Dana Walden and Craig Hunegs.
Walden is Chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment and “consortium of media and content creation companies that includes ABC Entertainment, Freeform and the ABC Owned Television Stations Group as well as the studios 20th Century Fox Television, ABC Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios.” She donated $1,000 to Booker, $2,800 to Klobuchar and $2,700 to Harris for a combined $6,500.
Hunegs is President of Disney Television Studios. According to Deadline, Disney Television Studios is the “combined TV studio operation comprised by 20th Century Fox TV, Fox 21 TV Studios and ABC Studios/ABC Signature.” His profile stated Hunegs “has oversight of all functions and areas of operation for Disney Television Studios, which includes ABC Studios, ABC Signature, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios.”
Hunegs gave $2,800 to Harris and $2,800 to Klobuchar for a combined total of $5,600.
FEC filings showed that most of the donations from the 29 Disney/ABC executives went to six of the remaining Democratic candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, (D-NJ), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, (D-TX). They will all be on the stage during ABC’s Sept. 12, debate.
Those executives have donated a combined $56,232.70 so far to Democratic presidential candidates raising questions about potential conflicts of interest. Harris was the favorite garnering more than half those funds ($31,681.70).
The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.” Although not journalists themselves, executives of media companies should also bear scrutiny for their giving and disclose conflicts of interest if they exist.
ABC/Disney wasn’t the only media conglomerate with high level staff giving to Democratic candidates in 2019. FEC data also showed at least 12 Comcast or NBC Universal executives, including five news-related ones, gave to the Harris campaign between Jan. 1, 2019, and early June — before the June 27, NBC debate.