George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week and Good Morning America was busy making, not reading, headlines this week when it was discovered that he had contributed a previously undisclosed $75,000 in charitable contributions to the Clinton Global Foundation in recent years. Although this sparked public debate about conflicts of interest in journalism and impartiality in political news, Stephanopoulos - who also served as a speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton - is hardly the first employee of a major media organization to contribute to a political candidate.
We looked at FEC records since 2004 to see where some of America's largest news organizations stood politically. Based on employee contributions to political campaigns, we found that contributions from within the news industry are fairly commonplace, and as a whole skew decidedly left.
As it happens, ABC News skewed the most left of all the major networks, but was far out-flanked by digital outlets such as Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and even legacy news outlets such as The Washington Post. The most centrist outlets by political donations were NewsCorp entities, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, whose respective ratings of 1.5L and 1L indicated the most even levels of support for candidates and organizations on both the left and the right.
One major factor affecting these scores is ideological diversity. While employees at some organizations such as the Washington Post appeared homogeneously liberal in their ideology, others, like The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, had active donors in both liberal and conservative fronts, bringing their averages towards the center.
You can see the full breakdown of employee partisanship within media organizations below:
This second chart shows total contribution amounts for each major news organization:
What about the ideological stances of other powerful industries? How about, say, the oil industry? Where does it stand and how is it affecting politics - can you guess?