As Kathleen Willey predicted, it appears Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going to be plagued with a scandal a day. Earlier today, POLITICO posted the breaking news that former aide to President Bill Clinton and ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos donated $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation over the past several years. Although donations such as this are public information, Stephanopoulos never made this information known to his viewers. In recent weeks and months, the ABC News host has discusses the Clinton Foundation at great extent given the recent controversy with foreign donors.
The donations were first discovered by the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles yesterday. After reaching out to Stephanopoulos’ staff, Stiles received this reply:
Hours later, the Anchors staff leaked the story to Dylan Byer’s On Media Blog at POLITICO so that they could attempt to control the story before the Free Beacon published. In the statement Stephanopoulos released to Byer’s, he apologized saying, “I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.”
Once the story broke, ABC News released its own statement of support for the Anchor.
“As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record,” the network’s statement read. “He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.” (Source: Politico)
While ABC is trying to spin the story as an “honest mistake” many are criticizing Stephanopoulos for his lack of objectivity and breach of journalistic integrity. If Stephanopoulos would hammer the author of a book that questions the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donors and backs its claims with substantial evidence, how can the public expect him to cover the 2016 Presidential race with the same bias? It is very likely that this same lack of objectivity could shape his coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign which could in turn directly effect election results.
Senator Mike Lee’s Communication Director Conn Carroll said on Twitter “I’m not letting my boss go on ABC until George Stephanopoulos recuses himself from all 2016 coverage.” Likewise, Presidential contender Senator Rand Paul said that the Anchor shouldn’t moderator any of the 2016 debates. Although the story broke mere hours ago, we can expect the outcry for Stephanopoulos to resign to continue. With ABC already backing him, it’ll be interesting to see where the Anchor goes from here.
UPDATE: 2:30 PM
POLITICO’s Dylan Byer published a new interview with George Stephanopoulos at 2:27 PM. The ABC News anchor has removed himself from consideration as a host of any 2016 Presidential debates and said, “In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have, even though I did it for the best reasons.”
UPDATE: 2:40 PM