Ed Driscoll

Don't Ever Change, ABC

Give that man an Emmy — Dan Harris, smart enough to claw his way through ABC’s corporate structure and replace Ted Koppel as host of Nightline sure knows how to play dumb when asked about ABC’s leftwing slant. As Tim Graham writes at Newsbusters, Harris appeared on the Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV, where based on the transcript, Malzberg gave Harris a pretty good grilling over ABC’s biases, before Malzberg asked him isn’t water wet don’t most journalists at ABC lean left?

HARRIS: I don’t know, liberal might be overly strong. We actually have some very, very powerful voices, and I’m not going to say who, within our building, who are conservative. Very, very powerful….

MALZBERG: On air?

HARRIS: Yes. So –

MALZBERG: Name one?

HARRIS: No. But I wouldn’t name one I thought was liberal either.* So I’m just being fair. Having said that, I’m open to the possibility – very much open to the possibility that there is absolutely a subconscious bias that manifests in just exactly the thing you’re talking about. But in my time there, I’ve never heard someone say ‘We’re gonna go get this guy because he’s a Republican.”

* Not even former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos? (And as Graham adds, “Please see our list of the five worst Dan Harris media-bias outrages. I vote for his silliness about Saddam Hussein getting 100 percent of the vote!”)

It took a few years, but with Harris’s non-denial denial, the dinosaur media troika is complete: In 2007, Andrea Mitchell appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show and much to her chagrin, was asked about bias at NBC. Mitchell’s response?

Mitchell on Chris Matthews: “I don’t think he’s a liberal thinker.”

And later: “I don’t feel there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don’t think there’s bias in CBS or ABC.”

In 2003, one year before Dan hit the fan at CBS, Lesley Stahl sounded virtually identical to ABC’s Dan Harris, when asked about the bias at CBS by Fox’s Cal Thomas:

[Stahl:] I’m going to attack your premise and say that I think the voices that are being heard in broadcast media today, are far more — the ones who are being heard, are far more likely to be on the right and avowedly so, and therefore, more — almost stridently so, than what you’re talking about.”

Thomas pounced: “Can you name a conservative journalist at CBS News?”

Stahl was flummoxed and denied that anyone at CBS is biased in any way: “Well I don’t know of anybody’s political bias at CBS News. I really think we try very hard to get any opinion that we have out of our stories. And most of our stories are balanced, and there are standards that say they need to be balanced. So if you have one side, you try to get the other side. And I’m not saying we don’t have opinions, but I’m saying we try to cleanse our stories of them.”

Lucy Ramirez could not be reached for comment.