George Stephanopoulos made at least $50,000 (Politico is reporting that he gave $75,000 in increments of $25,000 during the years, 2012, 2013 and 2014) in contributions to the Clinton Foundation and failed to advise his ABC employer where he is the news anchor, co-host of “Good Morning America” and host of the Sunday morning public affairs program- even as he has reported on issues relating to the Clintons and their foundation. According to the New York Times, ABC said “we stand by him” and called his omissions an “honest mistake”. Prior to joining ABC, he worked for President Clinton as a policy advisor and communications director. The news is particularly disturbing since Stephanopoulos recently challenged Peter Schweizer, the author of the recent book, “Clinton Cash”, during an ABC interview when he told him “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, [and] found no proof of any kind of direct action” between Hillary Clinton’s actions during her tenure as Secretary of State, and donations to the Clinton Foundation. At this point, he had not informed Schweizer or the general public that he was a big financial supporter of the Clinton Foundation. Had he done so, the public would likely have viewed his comments with greater suspicion. Stephanopoulos volunteered the payments after the news outlet “Polictico” disclosed the same. On Wednesday, he apologized.
ABC has taken a hypocritical stance on this issue. The organization, through their reporter, David Muir, said about the Brian Williams scandal over at NBC, “I probably would say it wasn’t great for the industry as a whole”. Does he think that blasting the author of an anti-Hillary book is OK when the person doing the blasting purposely does not disclose to an unsuspecting audience that he is a backer of the foundation run by people he is mesmerized with? Does he think such omissions are any less detrimental to “the industry as a whole”? Of course, if Muir were left to his own devices, he would likely have been more critical- but it is far safer to take the high ground, and mainly speak positively about your own product and not criticize the competition- it is an old gimmick used by sales peddlers around the world.
COMMENT: ABC may be willing to “stand by their man”, much in the same way that Tammy Wynette urged other woman to do in her song “Stand by Your Man”, but the truth is, the network and their anchor have lost credibility. The public expects straight-forward reporting from the major suppliers of news. Brian Williams set NBC back in the minds of many viewers, albeit to a greater degree, when he duped viewers. ABC could easily be headed down the same slippery slope when they summarily say we “stand by our man”. They should have, at a minimum, been more critical.