After failing to disclose $75,000 in Clinton Foundation donations to both his employer and his viewers, ABC News’ chief anchor and political correspondent George Stephanopoulos tried to contain the ongoing fallout Friday morning with an on-air apology. Rather than explain why he withheld disclosure and, more importantly, why he felt the Clinton Foundation was best suited to deal with his pet causes, Stephanopoulos used the “Good Morning America” apology to puff himself up as a big charitable giver:
I want to address some news you may have seen about me. Over the last several years I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record but I should have made additional disclosures on-air hen we covered the Foundation. And I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them strictly support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help the children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should’ve gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.
Note how Stephanopoulos uses the weasel word “we” when referring to coverage of the Clinton Foundation scandals.
“We” did not cover Clinton Foundations scandals — George Stephanopoulos did.
“We” did not go to bizarre lengths to defend the Clintons from this scandal on “This Week” and “The Daily Show” — George Stephanopoulos did.
By using the word “we,” Stephanopoulos is again deceiving his viewers.
According to The New York Times, Stephanopoulos violated ABC News rules by not disclosing the donations.
Nevertheless, the network says it stands behind its chief anchor.
The sometimes-underhanded way ABC News has handled this scandal stands in stark contrast to NBC News, a network that suspended its “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams for deceiving viewers, and suspended then-MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann for not disclosing a $2400 political donation.
That’s twice NBC News dropped disciplinary action on its most popular anchors at their respective networks.
ABC News has also come under scrutiny for its initial handling of the scandal. After the Washington Free Beacon found the Stephanopoulos donations, the Beacon contacted ABC News for comment. Like a sleazy, dishonest politician, ABC News then ran to the left-wing Politico to spin the disclosure of the donations as pro-active.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC