Editor’s Note: This op-ed first appeared at Mediaite. We reprint in part here.
George Stephanopoulos needs to remove himself from ABC’s This Week on Sunday mornings immediately. And if he won’t do it himself, ABC News management — starting with ABC president James Goldston — needs to do it for him.
Why? Because Stephanopoulos, a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, apologized today for not disclosing $75,000 in contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
We talk about optics in this space regularly, and when ABC News’ chief anchor and host of its Sunday morning political talk show donates to the likely Democratic nominee’s charitable foundation and doesn’t reveal that fact before every interview he does with anyone seen as an enemy or competitor of the Clintons, it’s hiding in clear sight an obvious conflict of interest.
More than a few people in the business wondered aloud why Stephanopulos conducted such a partisan interview with Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash. It was as if we were witnessing the 1993 version of George, the one who served as de facto press secretary for the Clinton administration, trying to destroy a narrative as if he was getting paid to do it. In case you missed it, Schweizer’s credibility was attacked for the entire interview while exactly zero of his claims about the Clintons were even remotely entertained by the host — the same who contributed to the very foundation in question.
Regardless of whether a donation to a charitable foundation has any effect on the way the anchor and moderator went/goes about his business in covering the 2016 is completely besides the point. Keith Olbermann — you may recall — got fired for donating to two Democratic congressional campaigns a few years ago (at least that was the excuse given by MSNBC brass to end the rocky relationship).