I honestly don’t know why this one didn’t make GEORGE’S head explode. For most people, there is only so much hypocrisy one can engage in without breaking down and screaming, “All right! ALL RIGHT! I admit it! I’m accusing someone of doing exactly what I’m doing THE VERY SECOND I’M ACCUSING HIM!!”
I will be discussing some of the more blatant efforts by the Hillary Clinton Shameless Rationalizers Brigade to spin away the fact of her unethical creation of a serious conflict of interests and appearance of impropriety once I have put my brains back into my skull. Meanwhile, I must briefly point out one of the most shocking examples of hypocrisy I have ever witnessed from a journalist, or anyone, for that matter.
On This Week With George Stephanopoulos this morning (that was Sunday, 4/27) the opening interview was with Peter Schweizer, a conservative reporter and author of the soon to be published book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story Of How And Why Foreign Governments And Businesses Helped Make Bill And Hillary Rich.” He is in the news because the New York Times and the Washington Post will be using his book, notes and sources to bolster their own investigative reporting, and one of its revelations regarding donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign interests is already making waves for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Stephanopoulos executed what I would call an adversarial interview, fair, but skeptical and hostile. It was also misleading, though not necessarily intentionally. George, like most journalists, isn’t too conversant in government ethics, or ethics generally. He kept hammering at the fact that no evidence of a crime had surfaced, as if that made everything fine and the story trivial. This is a classic Compliance Dodge: sneaky, dishonest, corrupt people are often expert at doing bad things without breaking the law. In fact, I just described the Clintons, and, sadly, a lot of lawyers. The fact that they didn’t break laws, or covered their tracks sufficiently not to leave evidence of law-breaking, does not mean that what they did wasn’t unethical, and seriously so. This is the case with the foreign contributions that just happen to have arrived in conjunction with matters where Clinton’ State Department had a decisive say that could benefit the donors. Accepting undisclosed contributions from such interests, in violation of a signed agreement that was a condition precedent to her confirmation as Secretary of State, is seriously unethical whether it was illegal or not. Because of this, it creates the appearance of impropriety, which officials in the Executive Branch, like Clinton, are prohibited by law from creating. This is a fact. Nothing more needs to be proved.
Stephanopoulos may not understand this, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he does not. If so, however, he is incompetent to perform the interview with Schweizer, who does understand it, because George should be trying to enlighten his audience, not confuse them. Harping on whether a law was broken does confuse his audience, and also abets the Clintons’ denial and confound efforts.
Schweizer was prepared; he anticipated all of the questions and the attempts to undermine his findings. He was patient and clear. Then Stephanopoulos suggested that his research was unreliable because he had worked for the Bush Administration and had ties to Republicans in the past.
George Stephanopoulos was a long-time, close political aide and confidante of Bill and Hillary Clinton! It is outrageous that he is even conducting the interview of a Clinton critic. He has a permanent, indelible conflict of interest—and an appearance of impropriety!—that under any reasonable ethics standards should disqualify him from any involvement or reporting function regarding Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation. He also has a standing obligation, as long as ABC News is unethically going to allow a former Clinton confidant and staffer to cover Clinton controversies, to inform the ABC audience of this every single time….which he doesn’t do, and has never done.
George Stephanopoulos, with a far more serious apparent conflict than Schweizer, had the audacity to suggest that the author was biased, when the participant in the interview with the disqualifying conflict was Stephanopoulos himself!
How could he ask that question without seeing the absurdity, and the hypocrisy? If George thinks working for George W. Bush disqualifies someone from doing research on Hillary Clinton (it doesn’t), how can he not see that working for the Clintons disqualifies him from the role of objective reporter in any Clinton controversy?
I can’t make up my mind about Schweizer’s response. He could have leveled George by saying the equivalent of what I just wrote. If he didn’t do it because he’s a gentleman and didn’t want to embarrass the host, he’s a better man than I. If he didn’t do it because he was too shocked at George’s stunning gall and hypocrisy, I can hardly criticize; after all, my head exploded. What he said was what he would have said to a truly objective reporter, and what I will, I am sure, write on Ethics Alarms more than once:
Since the Washington Post and New York Times (those well-known conservative news sources) independently confirmed his research regarding the sale of the uranium mines to Russia and the various financial benefits lavished on the Clintons by the various parties involved, whether he has a bias or not is completely irrelevant. They are facts. Part of the Clinton defense strategy—Is George on the team? Did he get the talking points memo from his old pals Begala and Carville? —is to attack the messenger and hope the public thinks that’s the same as discrediting the message.
Spark and Pointer: ABC News