ABC News has an integrity problem. More specifically, they have a George Stephanopolous problem (Major H/T to Ace of Spades HQ, which provided many of the external links in this post). One quick admin note – throughout this post I’ll be referring to him as George, not out of disrespect as one particularly obnoxious individual likes to do, but out laziness in that I don’t want to keep typing his last name. Andrew Stiles from the Free Beacon reports:
Stephanopoulos, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, confirmed the donation to POLITICO’s Dylan Byers after the Free Beacon contacted ABC News for comment. The host acknowledged making two donations of $25,000 between 2013 and 2014. Stephanopoulos issued a statement apologizing for failing to disclose the donation.
“I made charitable donations to the Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply,” Stephanopolous said. “I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record. However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.”
Over at The Federalist, Sean Davis declares that
The GOP Must Ban George Stephanolopolous From Any Involvement in Debates
Under no circumstances should George Stephanopoulos be allowed by the Republican National Committee to set foot on any debate stage. By his actions, he has proven he cannot be trusted to be an objective, transparent, and accountable debate moderator. But it shouldn’t stop there.
ABC News, if it cares one whit about its reputation, should ban Stephanopoulos from doing any 2016 campaign coverage. It’s bad enough that he was once a Clinton White House staffer. But everyone went along with the charade that his political days were behind him and that he just wanted to be an objective reporter. That charade ends today.
It’s strange, given his apparent love of transparency professed during the Schweizer interview, that Stephanopoulos also failed to disclose his cash ties to the Clinton Foundation when he interviewed Bill Clinton about the foundation’s work back in September of 2014.
It was a pure puff piece, designed to allow the former president to put the best possible spin on the shady goings-on of his massive tax-exempt enterprise. And Stephanopoulos made sure to sing directly from his former boss’s song sheet throughout the entire interview.
Allahpundit reports that Mike Lee and Rand Paul are calling on boycotting ABC News until George is removed from covering the 2016 election. And now George has issued an apology for allowing himself to be caught, and has recused himself from moderating any debates, although he won’t recuse himself from 2016 coverage. Brian Stetler at CNN Money had this to say (emphasis mine):
Stephanopoulos was one of Bill Clinton’s closest advisers during Clinton’s first term as president. He is now one of the most-respected and best-paid anchors at ABC News.
The network is not taking any disciplinary action against him.
“He made charitable donations to the foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record,” the network said in a Thursday morning statement.
“He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation,” the network continued. “He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.”
I’ll come back to the emphasis points shortly. George has no shortage of offenses that bring his suitability in his role under question. Here is a video montage of him defending Hillary. He, along with a former boos of his, have been known to spend time with a pimp for pedophiles.
Who can forget his performance in the 2012 GOP debate, when the candidates would have been smarter to debate their moderator instead of each other? He pulled the incredibly classless move of realizing his donations were about to become public and rather than responding to the outlet that contacted him, he handed the scoop to the much friendlier confines of Politico. And there is the quite serious question about George’s own assertion that “But everybody also knows, when those donors give that money and President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there’s a hope that that’s going to lead to something, and that’s what you have to be careful of”. Is George actively campaigning for Hillary in hopes of the promise of another White House gig? Scott Johnson at Powerline had a good idea for how Peter Schweizer should have responded to George’s indignation over non-disclosure:
I wrote about the interview conducted with Peter Schweizer by George Stephanopoulos in “For the Clinton defense.” Toward the end of the interview, Stepanopoulos suggested that Schweizer’s work in the Bush administration somehow discredits his research.
I thought that was funny, because his past work for President Bush put Schweizer at more than one remove from a direct interest in the subject of the book, whereas Stepanopoulos had worked directly for Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential campaign and in the White House. I declared the interview a complete and utter farce.
The proper response to Stephanopoulos’s question of Schweizer’s bona fides would have been what the Danny Thomas spit-take as taught at the old Albert Brooks Famous School of Comedy
And that brings me to my point. How should the GOP be reacting right now? For now, just give a shrug and say that it’s what they come to expect from a biased, partisan news organization. And let it go – for now. Then let this blow over and when George asks some snarky question in the debate challenge the basis of it. Ask him on live TV, with the entire nation watching, if his asking questions about non-existent issues (like banning birth control?) is him trying to further an agenda in support of the candidate to whom he donated $50K. If he defends it as a “charitable donation”, go for the jugular and ask why he donates to a foundation that only doles out 10% of its money to charity? Beating up on lefty journos is great red meat – it certainly helped Newt during his brief rise in 2012.
This will also set the stage for discrediting any left wing hackery that comes out of ABC News. Choosing to stand behind an obvious partisan hack as one of their most respected and highest paid anchors leaves their bias is naked as a jaybird for the public to see.
I’m glad to see some Republicans given some well deserved pushback, but I’d rather see a more disciplined approach, and used in a manner that could really make a difference. I’ll leave you with the best tweets of the week on this story:
ABC News won't fire @GStephanopoulos for being a partisan Democrat. They hired him to be a partisan Democrat.
— jon gabriel (@exjon) May 15, 2015
"Do you love me, Reek?" pic.twitter.com/OxhZiGSLt9
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 14, 2015
But as awesome as that last tweet was, the best tweet on the subject does not got to David Burge this time, Well done, Earleen!
— Earleen (@earleenlynn) May 15, 2015
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog