George Stephanopoulos's Last Conflict of Interest? Appearing on Dem Conference Calls

May 14th, 2015 4:05 PM

On Thursday it was revealed that former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos donated $75,000 to the foundation of Bill and Hillary Clinton. In a conflict of interest, the same Stephanopoulos grilled the author of a new book questioning the finances of the Clinton Foundation. (He also failed to report the donations to his bosses at ABC or his audience.) 

The fact that the Good Morning America co-host poses a journalist by day and works as a secret Democratic operative by night shouldn't be surprising. In 2009, Politico revealed that Stephanopoulos participated in daily strategy calls with James Carville (Clinton White House), Paul Begala (Clinton White House) and Rahm Emanuel (Clinton and Obama White House). 

Politico writer John Harris explained, "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." 

In a statement at the time, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell wondered: 

“What’s worse than the liberal media’s sycophantic coverage of President Barack Obama? ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actively helping design and deliver the Administration’s strategy and message - which he is then charged with reporting.

“Will Stephanopoulos be critical of the White House’s plans when he spends every morning helping to craft them? Not likely. He must from this point forward recuse himself from any reporting involving the Obama Administration.

“For Stephanopoulos, the line between journalist and liberal strategist would be completely obliterated were it not for the fact that it apparently never existed at all. He didn’t fail in his attempt at transformation from liberal operative to journalist – he never made the effort.”

Other Stephanopoulos statements are now coming into question. In February, he said disgraced anchor Brian Williams should be held to "the same standards journalists use for politicians." In a March radio interview, Stephanopoulos admitted that when he started at ABC, network colleagues worried if he could be "fair."

The donations story was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. The website also noted that Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign manager previously interned for Stephanopoulos. The ABC journalist has since apologized for his actions and said he would not moderate any presidential debates. 

On April 29, 2015, before his questionable donations were revealed, Stephanopoulos hedged on the foundation scandal, saying "this is a tough one." Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer has declared Stephanopoulos guilty of a "massive breach of ethical standards."