ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos was forced to apologize today after it was revealed that he donated roughly $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation in the past two years and never, in all his coverage of Clinton Foundation controversies, disclosed it.
[UPDATE: The new figure is $75,000 in the past three years.]
I don’t generally like to take bows, but I had this one pegged, ladies and gentlemen, exactly.
I had it so pegged that my head exploded, remember? I was astounded that this journalist of all journalists would have the cheese to raise an eyebrow and challenge “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer’s credibility and integrity because he had been a Bush speechwriter, when George himself was playing defense for the Clintons as former long-time Clinton insider, staffer and adviser. Now we know that his conflict was far worse: George Stephanopoulos was debating the propriety of the operation of a Foundation he supported and contributed to.
This isn’t a minor conflict of interest. This is a major one, and not to disclose it—it is not credible that George forgot—is disqualifying for a news anchor…easily as disqualifying as Brian Williams’ tall tales. The Clinton conflict has always been George’s ethical Achilles heel. I have argued in the past that he should be required to withdraw from covering any story in which the Clintons are involved—and that’s a lot of stories. This proves that Stephanopoulos is insufficiently sensitive to his conflicts, which means he is insufficiently sensitive to conflicts, which means he is insufficiently schooled in the ethics of journalism, which means he is not an ethical journalist, which means he is not a trustworthy journalist. ( The increasingly pathetic New York Times wrote that this makes Republicans less likely to trust him. Good lord. So it’s okay for a Democratic journalist to be conflicted and not transparent as long as he’s biased toward Democrats? What has happened to this paper?) At worst, it means that Stephanopoulos is still an agent of the Clintons. I just know I’ve written this before: a news organization that is properly concerned about its integrity and professionalism would fire him. At very least, he has to be suspended.
He won’t be, and I just explained why. The ABC statement: “As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.” Yes, he’s admitted that he’s a biased, conflicted, dishonest, untrustworthy hack. Can’t wait to see him moderating those debates.
But we’ll have plenty of time for all that.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!
I’ll be here all week!