Is it unethical for former Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos — an independent journalist — to participate in daily conversations with three of the Democratic Party’s top strategists while employed as ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent and anchor of “This Week”?
Bozell’s comment comes after the Politico ran a chipper front page story in which they detailed a telephone relationship between who they call “four old friends who suddenly find themselves standing once more at the busiest intersection of politics and media in Washington,” Paul Begala, James Carville, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and George Stephanopoulos.
All four men worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Some may forget that Stephanopolous also served for 4 years as a top presidential aide after the election. At the end of ‘96, Stephanopolous joined ABC as — supposedly — an unbiased reporter.
“In any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls,” writes Politico’s John Harris.
Bozell contacted ABC and asked that they “address Stephanopoulos’ apparent conflict of interest,” and called for Stephanopoulos to “recuse himself from reporting on an Obama Administration whose plans and messaging he spends every morning helping to craft.”
Stephanopoulos has not responded but Kerry Smith, Senior Vice President of Editorial Quality at ABC News did.
“To be crystal clear, George Stephanopoulos does not advise Rahm Emanuel nor anyone else in the Obama Administration. He reports on the Obama Administration,” writes Kerry in a letter to Bozell.
She closes the letter saying “we have made it clear to you and your staff that your assertions regarding Mr. Stephanopoulos and ABC News are false and based on a willful and knowing distortion of John Harris’ original story.”
Harris explained to Politico’s Ben Smith that “The calls are certainly a fascinating Washington ritual, but by no means do I think that George Stephanopoulos is participating in strategy sessions.”
What about the Washington’s Democratic “prevailing political and media interpretation” that Harris wrote was “being hatched on these calls”?
Furthermore, in the story Harris writes, “The line between journalism and politics is not always bright. Begala said he often can’t remember the originator of any particular insight: ‘We talk so much — was this my idea that James changed, or was this George’s observation that Rahm tweaked?’
“Nowhere in this article is it anyway stated that George Stephanopoulos’ role changed when he became anchor. It’s the same thing that’s been going on for 17 years,” Bozell said to HUMAN EVENTS.
“Not only that but if you look at the quotes the participants talk about Stephanopoulos being a participant. So if ABC wants to deny it they have a problem with the Politico not me.”
“What’s the policy at ABC news? If their policy is journalism — he has to recues himself from the party in which he is strategizing. This is not rocket science,” said Bozell “I don’t see how they get themselves out of this.”
A chief Washington correspondent in touch with the White House every day in conjunction with Democratic strategists? The pointed influence on ABC’s agenda is undeniable. Stephanopoulos and ABC are engaged in developing and implementing the Obama administration’s media strategies.
This of course is no revelation. ABC’s liberal bias has never been a secret to conservatives.
What makes Stephanopoulos’ relationship with Carville, Begala, and Emanuel so insulting is the way ABC denies such an obvious conflict of interest, dismisses it and contends to be treated as a reliable unbiased news source.
Click here to read Bozell’s letter back to ABC
Read MRC’s George Stephanopoulos “Profile in Bias”:
“In his 1997 memoir, All Too Human, Stephanopoulos candidly described his liberal ideology and how he was frustrated whenever President Clinton would choose a more moderate approach to social policy.” Read on
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter