NBC Ignores Latest In Clinton Foundation Controversy; ABC Downplays Importance

On Thursday morning, NBC’s Today ignored the latest revelations in the controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation’s practice of accepting donations from countries with questionable human rights records.

In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a full 2 minutes and 32 seconds to the Clinton Foundation whereas ABC’s Good Morning America gave it just 60 seconds but bundled the story in with Chris Christie’s recent stop in New Hampshire in an attempt to downplay its significance.

On CBS, fill-in anchor Vinita Nair detailed how “the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is changing the way it accepts foreign donations because of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Critics say the charity takes millions of dollars a year from governments and other donors that want political influence.”

Nair then turned to reporter Juliana Goldman, who has filed several reports in recent months exposing the problematic nature in which the Clinton Foundation accepts foreign donations:

Under the new policies, the Clinton Foundation will accept large donations from six foreign governments; Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The foundation will stop taking millions of dollars from all other countries including Saudi Arabia whose contributions have been a source of criticism. 

On ABC, GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos introduced the Clinton Foundation story by immediately mentioning New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent political activity:

A major reversal from Hillary Clinton. The Clinton Foundation under fire for soliciting foreign donations, announced last night it would stop taking most of them. And while Clinton was on the trail in Iowa, Republican Chris Christie held his first town meetings in New Hampshire.

Stephanopoulos then turned to Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, who claimed that Clinton’s “been hammered over this for some time” but failed to mention that his own network repeatedly ignored the story when it first broke in February.

After spending a mere 60 seconds on Clinton, the two ABC reporters quickly moved on to discuss Chris Christie’s New Hampshire visit with Karl noting that he’s “going to try and come back” but that “he’s got a long way to go” if he wants to win the Republican nomination for president.

See relevant transcripts below.

CBS This Morning

April 16, 2015

VINITA NAIR: This morning the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is changing the way it accepts foreign donations because of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Critics say the charity takes millions of dollars a year from governments and other donors that want political influence. Julianna Goldman is in Washington. She's been tracking the foundation’s fundraising. Julianna, good morning. 

JULIANNA GOLDMAN: Good morning. That's right. The Clinton Foundation has focused on health, poverty and climate focused work since 2001. Its taken in at least $42 million in donations from foreign governments to fund those grants. But the changes in policy acknowledged the potential liability the foundation had on her presidential bid. 

HILLARY CLINTON: I'm very proud of the work the foundation does. I'm very proud of the hundreds of thousand of people who support the work of the foundation. 

GOLDMAN: Under the new policies, the Clinton Foundation will accept large donations from six foreign governments; Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The foundation will stop taking millions of dollars from all other countries including Saudi Arabia whose contributions have been a source of criticism. On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul brought up her ties to the charity. 

RAND PAUL: She's taken money from countries that abuse the rights of women. I think we should be boycotting that activity, not encouraging it and it looks bad for the case of defending women's rights. 

GOLDMAN: Foreign governments can still participate in the Clinton Global Initiative, a subsidiary of the foundation and pay attendance fees. 

CLINTON: I think that people who want to support the foundation know full well what it is we stand for and what we're working on. 

GOLDMAN: Foundation officials say the new policies are more stringent than when Clinton was Secretary of State. In 2009, the foundation agreed to greater transparency and to limit foreign donations as part of a deal with the Obama administration. But it never stopped take money from foreign companies and individuals with ties to their governments and the new rules don't address that either. 

Last month CBS uncovered a $2 million donation from Rilin Enterprises, a Chinese company run by billionaire Wang Wienlang who's a delegate to the Chinese parliament and whose firm helped build the Chinese Embassy in Washington. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said last night that any foreign government funding should set off alarm bells. Now the foundation will evolve in other ways; disclosing donors quarterly in three month increments instead of annually. And Charlie, its next filing will be in July.

CHARLIE ROSE: Julianna thanks. 

--

ABC’s Good Morning America

April 16, 2015

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to turn to politics now and a major reversal from Hillary Clinton. The Clinton Foundation under fire for soliciting foreign donations, announced last night it would stop taking most of them. And while Clinton was on the trail in Iowa, Republican Chris Christie held his first town meetings in New Hampshire. Those always draw some tough questions. Let’s talk about it all with Jon Karl. And Jon, Clinton critics have been zeroing in on this question of foreign donations and possible conflicts.

JONATHAN KARL: Oh, she's been hammered over this issue for some time. The Clinton Foundation has taken tens of millions of dollars in foreign donations over the years, the most controversy has centered on donations from foreign governments with bad human rights records, like Saudi Arabia, which, on its own, has given millions to the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons have always defended this Georg but now the foundation is saying that it’s going to cut back, way cut back its foreign donors. No more donations from countries with bad human rights records. But they will continue to accept some foreign donations, only from allies, a small list of six countries, including England and Canada.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Chris Christie at those town meetings in New Hampshire, hoping they can spark a little bit of a comeback for him even before he’s announced. 

KARL: That’s right. He is going to try and come back. You know, he was, at one point, considered a possible frontrunner for the nomination, now way down. He wants to come back one town hall at a time. He was up in New Hampshire doing this yesterday. He's back, George, on Friday, for yet another town hall meeting. He's got a long way to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He does. Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Today Clinton Foundation Jonathan Karl George Stephanopoulos Julianna Goldman Hillary Clinton

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