The conservative media circus is furiously banging their drums to chastise George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week, for his failure to disclose a donation to the Clinton Foundation. This oversight is being portrayed as an unforgivable offense of partisan bias. As with any matter that can be hyper-dramatized by zealous punditry, Fox News took the lead in running Stephanopoulos through the metaphorical grinder.
A couple of notes need to be raised in order to fairly assess this situation. First of all, Stephanopoulos donated to a charitable organization, not a political campaign. Thus, it cannot really be regarded as partisan in that the Clinton Foundation does not engage in any political activities. Its mission is purely philanthropic and no fair observer has ever alleged any ideological leanings. Furthermore, unlike a corporate donor or a foreign entity, there isn’t any conceivable benefit that Stephanopoulos might have been seeking in exchange for a donation. Even his critics do not allege that his motives were anything but altruistic.
That said, there are problems with his failure to disclose that impact his reporting when the subject is the Foundation itself. For instance, Stephanopoulos recently interviewed the author of “Clinton Cash,” a book that alleges improprieties on the part of Hillary Clinton in connection to donations to the Foundation. The fact that the book was filled with factual errors and failed to prove its premise does not excuse Stephanopoulos from an ethical duty to reveal that he was also a donor.
Taken in its entirety, this scandalette hardly seems to approach the degree of significance that is being assigned to it by Fox News and other conservative media. There was no effort to extract any personal gain and the ethical lapse did not result in any reportorial distortion. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing muckrakers from attempting to whip it up into a full-blown catastrophe for Stephanopoulos. He has been maligned as hopelessly biased and there have been calls for him to resign or be fired. Fox’s Howard Kurtz described the affair as…
“…such a bombshell that George Stephanopoulos has now had to withdraw as ABC’s moderator in the Republican presidential debate next year.”
What makes the debate moderation move somewhat comical is that last November the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, ruled out anyone that he regarded as being unfriendly to the Party’s interests.
Priebus: [the] thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.
Priebus reinforced that edict yesterday saying that “I’ve been very public about this. George Stephanopoulos was never going to moderate a Republican debate anyway.” Somewhere Priebus got the impression that debate moderators are supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And the last thing that the GOP wants is a debate that is truly spirited and informative. They are looking for something more on the order of an infomercial.
Amidst this tumultuous uproar over the fate of Stephanopoulos and his relatively modest $75,000 gift, what has gone unmentioned is that he is not alone in making donations to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, Fox News has been even more generous than Stephanopoulos. Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the COO of 21st Century Fox (parent company of Fox News), made a donation in the range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000. The News Corporation Foundation contributed between $500,000-$1,000,000. Fox regular Donald Trump forked over between $100,000-$250,000.
There might be more of these types of ethical problems involving media personalities on the right donating to Republican charities like the Bush Foundation. However, we can’t uncover them because the Bush Foundation doesn’t disclose their donors like the Clintons do. Curious, isn’t it?
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So the question is: How can Fox News criticize George Stephanopoulos for his undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, when they have made far bigger donations without disclosing them? What’s more, the donations from the Fox media empire can be regarded as possible bribes since, unlike Stephanopoulos, they have pending business before the government and its regulatory agencies. If Fox News wants to pretend to be “fair and balanced” they need to immediately come clean. And if Stephanopoulos is denied the opportunity to moderate any GOP debates, then Fox News should be prohibited from airing them.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to act ethically in this matter. They will neither remove themselves from the debate schedule, nor cease their attacks on Stephanopoulos. That’s just the way Fox does business and it will continue despite the obvious hypocrisy and lack of journalistic principle.
17 thoughts on “Stephanopoulos Isn’t The Only Media Donor To The Clinton Foundation (Is He, Fox News?)”
Look at how they handled the Bill O’Reilly lie-scandal vs NBC’s approach with Bryan Williams. Day and night difference, they apply the rules differently depending on who it is. Typical Fox not News.
Which of course has nothing to do with the billions of dollars people like the Koch brothers contributed to the Rethuglican coffers. And how much did the Kochs contribute to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Remedial Kindergarten? The world will never know because the Kochs make sure that all their donations are completely secret, unlike honest organizations who care about the public welfare.
And naturally, this is totally irrelevant to this INCREDIBLE SCANDAL that is rocking the Clinton Foundation.
The Koch brothers are NOT NOT NOT – get it “NOT” so-called journalists now are they? And it has not been BILLIONS as your ignorant comment states, just millions on the order of George the communist anti-Christian foreigner Soros also contributes to leftist organizations even though he is Hungarian. And one can easily find out the amount of charity the Koch brothers give out every year, just drop the hash pipe and look it up. Every thing you just wrote is a half truth. you are such a Democrat.
Don’t rain on their parade – the rules do NOT apply to them and their supporters. Read here long enough and you see very clearly the double standard they hold and preach – good to see someone else can see it.
There is so much wrong in your comment it’s hard to know where to start.
First of all, the Koch’s HAVE spent billions overall on GOP politics through all of their affiliated enterprises.
Secondly, the Kochs ARE heavily invested in media and run a network of rabidly right-wing “news” operations through their Franklin Center and other groups.
Thirdly, George Soros is not only NOT a communist, but he is one of the foremost opponents of communism worldwide, and he puts his wallet where his mouth is.
Fourthly, Soros is an American citizen and has been for more than half a century.
And finally, the Koch’s DO keep their political funding secret. I challenge you to identify a single donor to their biggest financing arms, Donor’s Trust, Freedom Partners, and Americans for Prosperity.
Obviously, you don’t know WTF you’re talking about. You’re as bad as my regular trolls Scott and Steve in York, who fail to provide ANY factual support for their blathering or even to stay on topic.
Mark, just because we don’t play by the rules you so desperately want us to follow doesn’t mean anything I’ve said in the past isn’t 100% correct. I’m not going to argue on your bash Fox News only terms while letting your hypocrisy slide. As noted many times, I wouldn’t disagree with you on Fox News criticism because I generally agree with you. Any of us that choose to fight your desperate attempts to convince us that we would be so much better off trusting government to run our lives and to also believe whatever the state tells us as well as your clear attempt to shield the party you THINK represents you from any criticism – that is just the way it’s going to be. Stick to your Fox News bashing and I have nothing to say – stray into the choices of individuals to not support the state as you do sooo often and expect an opposing opinion. Your desire to have everyone distracted by your Fox News gripes while you sew in your pro-leftists collectivism/anti individualist threads just doesn’t work for everyone.
Setting aside what you completely (and continuously) misrepresent as my political views, your problem is that what you call “playing by the rules” I set is regarded in more rational circles as engaging in a coherent discourse. Since you have demonstrated that you are intellectually incapable of doing that, you just try to change to a subject that you think suits you better. And you even fail at that.
Ok, I’ll address the accusation I misrepresent your political views – that may be correct – but not because it’s intentional. What I do state is absolutely the EXPECTED RESULTS of your political views – do I think you actually want the people of this country to be less free and have less access to their own money vs. the governments access to our money – no. Do I think your positions promote that exact outcome – ABSOLUTELY. So if I was misleading – it wasn’t intentional. And that probably also applies to other accusations too. You’re not some evil commie ogre – just an incredibly naive fool. And you general defense of left only billionaires and wealthy elites proves how naive you are.
It’s also the case that the Kochs use their political spending for projects like climate change denialism that are extraordinarily destructive of the public good but that narrowly benefit themselves. The only gripe the right has ever had against Soros is that he’s a rich Jew. Presenting him as some sort of communist is particularly hilarious. Aimed solely at evoking that anti-Semitic puppet-master caricature, it turns reality on its head. Soros is, by any definition, the ultimate capitalist.
The Koch brothers have stated they intend to spend almost a billion $ just on the upcoming election cycle. Better check your sources or just get new ones. Goggle “Koch brother election spending”; there’s plenty of write-ups on it–you just have to want to be informed.
“Scandalette” seems like a good word for this but even it probably overstates the matter and you identify why: “There was no effort to extract any personal gain and the ethical lapse did not result in any reportorial distortion.” Stephanopoulous’s donations were, contrary to the insinuations made in the early reporting on this, a matter of public record–anyone could and can go to the Clinton Foundation website and see he’s listed as a donor:
The contributions to the Foundation are of no real consequence. He did his mea culpa and that will probably be the end of it. The fact that he’s friends with the Clintons is potentially a much bigger conflict in the coming campaign but news organizations have rarely treated that sort of relationship as a conflict. Brit Hume was a persona. friend of George Bush Sr., visited Bush at home, played golf and tennis with him, etc. yet he covered the Bush White House for ABC for years, including throughout the ’92 campaign, when Bush was running against Clinton. Then when Clinton won, Hume was left to cover the Clinton White House headed by his buddy’s foe. A lot of press people are even relatives with or married to people in politics in D.C.
The Media Research Center has been banging the drums on this the loudest, churning out a stream of increasingly ridiculous articles and demanding that Stephanopoulous not be allowed to cover the campaign for failing to disclose his “conflict of interest.” They have much more serious yet unaddressed conflicts of their own:
The Koch brothers are pieces of shart. It’s that simple. Does not matter what charities they give to or how much. Whatever good they do is far, far outweighed by the bad.
Scott, don’t waste your time – they are willfully ignorant of the world around them and are only focused on their ideological enemies. They are a big joke! Very naive and there appears to be no cure.
Yes, Scott – don’t waste your time — and don’t waste our time either. Stay out of the grown-ups’ sphere unless you are willing to provide your reasoned input like a grown-up. If you (and Steve in York, for that matter) are unable to take any action except use Bill O’Reilly’s method of dealing with anything he perceives as uncomplimentary (attack, then lie), fine. Either contribute to the national discourse or go back to Fox Nation where you belong.
Boy Kali, I got you right in my comment above – willful ignorance – perfect call.
Yes, you do. You just described yourself. Good to know you are not self-conscious about it.
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