So the dust has mostly settled now and George Stephanopoulos has apologized for making however many donations it was to the Clintons for however much money he gave them. (I’m sure his accountant will sort it all out eventually, and perhaps some younger members of his family can help him monitor his finances in the future.) And with that, we’re good, right? Nothing more to see here, so you all may as well move along.
Or… not so fast. Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer, who received a rather brutal interrogation from Stephanopoulos on his show, took to the op-ed pages this weekend to point out that there’s even more Generous George involvement with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) which the ABC newsman forgot to disclose during his coverage. Peter is also rather put off by the treatment he received and isn’t holding back. (From USA Today)
When Stephanopoulos invited me on his Sunday program, I knew that he had worked as a top adviser and campaign manager to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but I didn’t know about his donations or his other ties to the foundation founded and overseen by the former president and his wife, potential future president Hillary Clinton.
I agreed to be interviewed, expecting a robust examination of my new book, Clinton Cash, and my reporting on the Clintons’ accumulation of massive personal wealth, cronyism and the lack of transparency surrounding the Clintons’ foundation.
What I did not expect — what no one expected — was the sort of “hidden hand journalism” that has contributed to America’s news media’s crisis of credibility in particular, and Americans’ distrust of the news media more broadly.
Ouch. Peter then goes on to the meat of this story. It turns out that Stephanopoulos was involved with the CGI in more personal ways than just writing them a few big checks. He was hands on, and Schweizer has been assembling the track record. It includes:
- In 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual CGI meeting.
- in 2007 he was listed as a featured attendee at the CGI meeting alongside Clinton Foundation donors Lucas Lundin, Frank Giustra, Frank Holmes, and Carlos Slim.
- He was a 2008 panelist at the annual meeting.
- In 2009 he was a panel moderator at the CGI annual meeting.
The list goes on and you’ll have to read Peter’s piece in full to get all the details. Sending someone a check for your hard earned cash is certainly enough to indicate your support, but this sort of hands-on participation and giving of your time makes you a true player in their game. Was it all done in the interest of charitable works and helping out the less fortunate? Perhaps. But in George’s own estimation, nobody pitches in for this sort of organization without at least the possibility of getting something in return. And even if there was no thought of a quid pro quo going on, this sort of dedication demonstrates a fondness for the Clintons and their work if nothing else. How is an independent journalist supposed to maintain any sort of agnostic journalism footing when covering the activities of people who are so near and dear to him?
Why, that would be as preposterous as sending a reporter to interview his own brother if he were a high office holder! (Sorry about that, Cuomos.)
While the media at large may have a definite liberal bias and a tendency to undermine conservatives at every turn, if there’s one thing they hate worse than Republicans it’s their competition. Every news outlet besides ABC is jumping on this story and the drumbeat isn’t softening yet. It’s not much different from the dog pile on Brian Williams in that regard. But unlike NBC, George’s bosses at ABC are standing by their man so far. How long can that last?