Foul-mouthed Senior ABC Correspondent David Wright has some interesting views on President Donald Trump. He admires and loathes him at the same time.
He earned a suspension from the network late Tuesday night after he got caught in a Project Veritas hidden-camera entrapment expressing controversial opinions about ABC and Trump, whom he referred to as “a d**k.”
Undercover reporters recorded Wright at a Doubletree Hotel bar in Manchester, New Hampshire while he and ABC News Producer Andy Fies were covering the state’s first-in-the-nation primary for Nightline.
“We’re in this awkward moment…we have this f**king president, and we can’t figure out how to challenge him,” said the frustrated newsman.
Wright displayed something we never thought journalists still possessed in the Trump era — a conscience. “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.
He called out the network for its biased and even untruthful reporting of news, zeroing in on the Trump era. “And so, it’s like there’s no upside, 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 accountable,” said Wright.
“We’re not disciplined enough to cut [Trump] off and we second-guess ourselves because we’re sensitive to the accusation that we’re in the tank for the Democrats. And so that enables them, and so we enable them. And every time we take the bait on it and that’s what he wants,” he said. “It’s totally an abusive relationship. He’s the nightmare spouse that you can’t win an argument with.”
Project Veritas: “Why don’t you like him?”
Wright: “Cause he’s a d**k.”
Aside from trashing Trump, Wright pulled away the TV news veil, exposing the self-interested news values that govern the decisions over what the networks broadcast. He committed a potentially career-killing sin, dumping on the network’s morning cash cow. “You can’t watch Good Morning America without a Disney Princess or a Marvel Avenger appearing. It’s all self-promotional.”
“We’ve lost, at least in television, we’ve lost any sense of context and perspective and it’s just, the urgent moment, the horse race and the outrage from Trump,” Wright said. “We often talk about how it used to be better.”
He explained why network and cable news reports are filled with anti-Trump talking points from Democrats as they struggle to stay relevant and profitable in the era of what he called ‘the new digital media.’
“We’re all guilty of the same thing. I think that all the big news organizations, I’m speaking about broadcast television. That’s all I’m speaking about. ABC, CBS, NBC. And we recognize that we are dinosaurs and we’re in danger of dying,” Wright said.
The veteran news correspondent seems fully aware that his audience does not have to watch the news to know what is in the headlines. They can go online to find it, so they tune in for the concocted drama. News reporters are becoming more and more like actors in a soap opera with storylines, not facts.
“We live in a moment where people live in echo chambers and the truth suffers and, in an effort to compete, we’ve become an echo chamber ourselves,” said Wright. We’ve been in the mainstream media. We have an effort to match the zippy news cycle with responding to the latest tweet and trying to keep pace with the desperate pace of it all.”
He accused ABC of refusing to give Trump credits for his accomplishments while blasting him with negative news reports. “As a result, we’re easily distracted and that means that we don’t bring focused attention to something that could make a difference,” he said.
“We don’t hold [Trump] to account. We also don’t give him credit for what things he does do. I think, some of that at least in the place that I work, 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,” he said.
Wright complained that the news networks are caught running on Trump’s news wheel like hamsters: “The first story is the big story, about Trump. And it’s about whatever outrageous thing he said or tweeted about, and it’s about, or it’s about this effort to unseat him, or it’s about, you know, ‘Today we found anonymous’ or ‘Who’s he throwing out of the White House today’ or ‘Who’s blowing the whistle and stabbing him in the back?’”
“I don’t think we’re terribly interested in voters. We need the story to move on, and so we’re happy to have Buttigieg be the story last week, and we’re happy to have Klobuchar as a new subject this week, and then when we’re tired of her, we’ll be delighted if Elizabeth Warren kicks ass in Nevada because then we have something new to talk about,” said Wright.
While dropping several F-bombs of his own Fies said, “We just want conflict.” He admitted, “It’s all about the horse race. We can’t stop ourselves.”
Fies explained why people living in liberal parts of the country don’t understand Trump voters. “People in New York are constantly, I think, fascinated by, ‘How can people like Donald Trump?’…You know, well f**k! Cross the Hudson now and then, and come out and spend some time, and you’ll hear why! Real people, practical issues? “Those things aren’t TV-friendly,” Fies noted.
The most intriguing aspect of the Project Veritas report was Wright’s response to the question, “Are you a Democrat Socialist?
Wright: “Oh Yeah. Like, more than that. I would consider myself a socialist, like I think there should be national health insurance,” he said. “I’m totally fine with reining in corporations, I think they’re too many billionaires, and I think there’s a wealth gap – that’s a problem.”