ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was forced to admit that he failed to disclose a major conflict of interest –$75,000 in donations to the embattled Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation– to viewers while covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Bear in mind that just two weeks before on the “Daily Show,” he said, “Everybody knows that when donors give that money, what you get is access and the influence that comes with that access.”
Stephanopoulos said the gifts “were a matter of public record … [but] 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.” The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove mocked the former Clinton White House aide’s mea culpa as “a passive-aggressive non-apology.” Stephanopoulos has since recused himself as moderator of ABC’s February GOP debate in New Hampshire but stubbornly refuses to refrain from covering the 2016 presidential election, a fact that has some Republican lawmakers urging their colleagues to refuse to give interviews to the news network.
The anchor’s bias was obvious in an April 26 interview with Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer. When the author said there was a “troubling pattern” between donations to the foundation and Mrs. Clinton’s actions as secretary of state, the hyper-partisan Stephanopoulos slapped him down hard. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” the disingenuous anchor said. Of course a book by an investigative reporter isn’t a formal indictment. It’s not like Schweizer has subpoena-issuing powers.
Remember that Stephanopoulos is the guy who threw a life line to Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential debate on April 16, 2008. He asked then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.):
I want to give Senator [Hillary] Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers — he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that, and, in fact, on 9-11, he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” An early organizing meeting for your state Senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?
It was quite a loaded question and I doubt that Stephanopoulos’s motivation in asking it was journalistic curiosity.