I’ve heard a couple of folks on political talk radio and cable news already starting the countdown clock until George Stephanopoulos steps aside at ABC News, but I’m really not so sure that’s going to happen. We all knew that Brian Williams was in some degree of trouble from day one because NBC was running away from him like he was holding a bomb pretty much as soon as the first story broke. And the Williams apology was fairly groveling right from the get go as well, so he seemed hopeful that the cup might somehow pass from him, but was clearly prepared for the worst.
With Generous George, the entire tone has been different. His apology was of the sort which clearly implied that he hadn’t done anything wrong, mind you, but he could see how the peasants might be upset by the optics and he was sorry about that. ABC, for their part, accepted the semi-apology immediately and expressed their confidence in him. It will be a pretty big pill for the network to swallow if they have to turn around and give him the heave ho now.
But this long, drawn out session of verbal lashings may eventually become too much to handle. The examples which speak volumes to me are not the criticisms coming from conservatives – which are completely expected – but the beating that Stephanopoulos is taking on the Left. One of the ugliest came this weekend from one of his own news desk colleagues.
On CNN’s Reliable Sources media criticism program, Stephanopoulos’s former ABC News colleague, Carole Simpson, unloaded on the former top aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton that she said she likes and respects.
“There is a coziness that George cannot escape,” said Simpson, who toiled for two decades at ABC News, notably as the weekend anchor of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. “While he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really isn’t a journalist.”
On the one hand… ouch. On the other hand, yes it’s a big ouch, but it’s also looking more and more like a defensive reaction from ABC. It’s awful enough for Simpson to say that George really isn’t a journalist, but there’s an second implication hiding below the surface.
It’s really not that much of a scandal for ABC and we don’t need to do anything about it because George isn’t actually one of our news guys.
Does that get the network off the hook long enough for the storm to pass? Who knows? Stranger things have happened. But the friendly fire isn’t just coming from inside ABC News. Liberal bloggers seem to have reached a point where the manure cart has gotten a bit too full for them as well. The anonymous Lefty blogger Zandar would generally be the last person to pile on, but I’m sensing an abandon ship theme when it comes to Stephanopoulos.
George Stephanopoulos made the mistake of buying the song of the Mighty Wurlitzer and apologizing for his donations to the Clinton Foundation, and as somebody who has been around the noise machine for decades, he should have known that once his blood hit the water, the sharks would come to rip him to pieces…
I’d say good riddance to him if there was any chance ABC would install a real journalist at This Week, but then again he was hired for being a Villager in the first place, and everyone knew it. Suddenly that’s an issue and everyone’s circling, looking for signs of weakness.
So yes, I’m torn between seeing somebody who should definitely be in the tumbrel get rolled down the street and hating the sight of another “liberal media” head on the Rough Beast’s wall.
Stinks seeing the bad guys about to score again.
I leave the final comment about the bad guys about to score again in the quoted text simply as a marker to show how deeply into the Left this venom is spreading. The comment about George being “a Villager” is a reference to being a media insider. The implication that he’s not a journalist anyway mimics the ABC position. But he’s a political animal at heart and that heart belongs to the Clintons. It was a fine and cozy situation as long as everyone was largely willing to suspend disbelief and say, okay… he’s a news guy now and his days in the American Game of Thrones are over. But once the mask was ripped away from that fantasy it was very much like having your friends over for dinner and realizing that you’d also invited your racist old Uncle Bert for the same evening. Awkward.