By Huey Dessalines
February 26, 2020
Veteran ABC News correspondent David Wright is the latest victim of right wing group “Project Veritas”, after being privately recorded criticizing the network for promoting the interests of Disney, which owns it, along with declaring his political leanings to be “democratic socialist”. Wright’s most “controversial” comments were: support for national health insurance, “reining in” “corporations”, and stating that there are too many billionaires. These are not, of course, revolutionary socialist or Communist positions, they are perfectly within the confines of “respectable” progressive American political discourse. Wright, notably, also critiqued the network for “not giving Trump credit for things he does do”. Undoubtedly, Wright is still a firm enemy of revolutionary Communism, progressive veneer notwithstanding. However, the suspension of a veteran journalist for expressing lukewarm social democratic sentiment is a sign of the hardening fascism that is becoming commonplace.
This has been compared to the McCarthyite era of the 1950’s when people were terminated from their employment and blacklisted for expressing progressive sentiment, or even on suspicion that they had attended a progressive meeting. Keep in mind that the old revisionist CPUSA was not destroyed by the McCarthyite witch hunts, but by the revisionism (turning away from basic Marxist principles) under the leadership of Earl Browder and others in his clique. This revisionism sparked the first widespread anti-revisionist movement in the United States with resigned or expelled CPUSA cadre such as Harry Haywood among them. McCarthyism would not have destroyed a solid Communist Party with firm anti-revisionist principles and a solid mass base, particularly among the oppressed nationality proletariat and semi-proletariat.
The suspension of Wright was explained by ABC this way: Wright has been suspended and will be “reassigned away from political coverage” when he returns to “avoid any possible appearance of bias… Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved,” the statement said.” The bias that ABC refers to is the crack in the veneer of bourgeois “objectivity” that liberal journalists so adore. Wright’s punishment comes, undoubtedly, more from his critique of the Disney product placement on morning shows than his “socialist” comment, but this sets a precedent that revolutionaries should keep in mind when engaging with the media. The media is a tool of the enemy, owned by the enemy, and anything said to the bourgeois media will be used against the revolutionary movement in the service of the enemy’s class interests.
The development of revolutionary media is of utmost importance, as is keeping a lookout for right wing trolls like Project Veritas, who are growing and are fed by apparent victories like that over Wright. Communists also must continue to advance the revolutionary education movement and deepen mass ties to ensure that lukewarm, pro-imperialist sentiments like those of Wright do not continue to be proffered as “socialism”.