Mar
02
2011

ABC's 'Made in America' Hypocrisy

Focusing on consumers, not corporations like Disney

ABC World News With Diane Sawyer kicked off its "Made in America" series on February 28, encouraging consumers to buy U.S.-made products in order to spur job growth. But why focus on consumers and not major corporations like ABC parent Disney, who are the ones who actually choose to manufacture products overseas?

The February 28 report consisted of reporter David Muir touring one family's home, discovering that the vast majority of the family's possessions are not made in the United States. Muir even checks the children's toys, only to discover that they are mostly made in China.

Consumers, of course, do not choose where the products offered in their local stores are manufactured. Instead of focusing on what consumers should do with their limited choices, why not focus on the much more powerful decisions made by major corporations--like Disney? FAIR founder Jeff Cohen (CommonDreams, 2/27/11) checked the label at the Disney Store website:

What would be more helpful is a TV news series that scrutinizes the powerful U.S. corporations that make decisions every day determining what products mainstream Americans have access to.

I scrutinized Disney myself by going to DisneyStore.com -- "Official Site for Disney Merchandise." The first 40 products I looked at were all listed as "Imported."

As Muir put it at the close of the segment, "Economists say if we spent 1 percent more than what we're spending now on American goods, we could create 200,000 jobs immediately."

"That's 18 cents a day!" anchor Diane Sawyer exclaimed. The following night (3/1/11) Sawyer reiterated that point, telling viewers that spending just $64 a year will create 200,000 U.S. jobs.

Why is the focus on consumers--and not corporations? Will the ABC series talk about Disney, whose reliance on cheap labor is well-documented? The company's history is not encouraging. As FAIR pointed out (Action Alert, 11/20/00), ABC News killed critical investigations into Disney theme parks and sweatshops, evidence of a larger pattern:

One ABC producer says that the need to avoid news stories that might displease Disney "comes up all the time" because "no one here wants to piss off the bosses" (New Yorker, 8/14/00).

The closest ABC came on February 28 to mentioning Disney was noting that the family being profiled lives on Snow White Drive.

ACTION:

Tell ABC that its "Made in America" series should focus more attention on corporations like Disney that choose to rely on overseas labor in order to maximize profits.

CONTACT:

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

Go to:

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/MadeInAmerica/

And leave a comment in their "Share Your Thoughts on Made in America" section on the right-hand side of the screen.