ABC’s Stephanopoulos Under Fire for ‘Egregious Failing’

AP Photo/Charles Sykes
AP Photo/Charles Sykes
Washington, DC

The Journal Sentinel reports that far from dismissing it as an “honest mistake,” ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos’ “undisclosed contributions totaling $75,000 to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation … will cripple his ability to participate in the network’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election,” according to retired White House correspondent Ann Compton.

“My colleague George Stephanopoulos has really stepped in it,” said Compton, who worked four decades as an ABC News correspondent.

“He has apologized. ABC is standing behind him. But it is an egregious, egregious failing, and George knows it,” she said.

Of the apology, Compton added: “I don’t think that’s going to be enough,” noting that candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said it would be impossible for Stephanopoulos to participate in presidential debates because of the conflict.

Meanwhile, in a New York Post item headlined, George Stephanopoulos has forfeited all trust as a newsman, Michael Goodwin walks through Stephanopoulos’ actions, making it clear that any serious first-year student of journalism would know better, than to have acted as he did — coming and going. There is simply nothing ethical about anything Stephanopoulos did here — including running to Politico for cover instead of answering legitimate queries from the initial reporters.

His track record of secrecy, partisanship and dishonorable behavior blows up his claim that he made an honest mistake. He engaged in a prolonged and brazen act of dishonesty.

Over three years, he gave at least $75,000 to an organization that acts like a political superPAC for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a tax-free slush fund for the Clinton family and their cronies.

He made two unforgivable decisions: He didn’t tell his bosses about the donations and he didn’t tell viewers that he had given money to the foundation even as he reported on it and the Clintons.
At most news organizations, either would be a fireable offense. Either would be a fireable offense at ABC for someone less important.

And even though he has apologized to his viewers for keeping this information from both his audience and his bosses, there is much that Stephanopoulos has yet to disclose to his viewers. Indeed, far from being a passive donor who strokes Clinton Foundation checks from afar, a closer look reveals that Stephanopoulos is an ardent and engaged Clinton Foundation advocate.

For his part, Peter Schweizer is keeping the heat on, as well.

If Stephanopoulos had disclosed his donations to the very foundation I was there to talk about, perhaps it would have put the aggressive posture of his interview with me in context.

But he didn’t. …

For example, in his on air apology for this ethical mess, Stephanopoulos did not disclose that in 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).