Media Hall of Shame: ABC's $105 Million Contract with a Clinton Apologist

Another media credibility fail.

Editor's Note: This is the first of a TruthRevolt series called the "Media Hall of Shame," in which we highlight the bias, hypocrisy, and incompetence of the mainstream media, one shameful figure at a time.

ABC News was banking on George Stephanopoulos as their star for the foreseeable future. According to the NY Post's industry sources, he landed a seven-year deal with ABC last year for a stunning $105 million. The contract, the Post notes, "dwarfs" that of another Media Hall of Shame shoo-in, Brian Williams, whose five-year, $50 million contract with NBC was followed by his epic credibility fail. Though sources told the Post that ABC executives were "blindsided" by the revelations of the newsman's contributions, "ABC really has all their money on Stephanopoulos." When the network gave him his massive contract extension in April 2014, an ABC spokesman said, "George is vital to the success of the news division and will continue to be a leader here at ABC News. We expect him to remain with us for many, many years." 

But after a storm of withering headlines, two public apologies in less than one week, and polling showing 46% of voters want him banned from campaign coverage, how long will the Clinton-adviser-turned-chief-anchor's future with the network be? The following is a greatest hits compilation of Stephanopoulos' journalistic credibility low-points. (H/t NB's Geoffrey Dickens for chronicling four of the following Clinton "suck up" moments.)  

The Schweizer Ambush - April 26, 2015

Despite having donated at least $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation since 2011, Stephanopoulos somehow failed to disclose this information in his numerous (clearly biased) reports involving the foundation and the Clintons. Most recently was his attempt to take down Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer in an April 26, 2015 interview in which the former Clinton adviser repeatedly tried to undermine Schweizer's arguments by hypocritically questioning his credibility (he was a former Bush speechwriter) and pointing to the lack of a "smoking gun" in the book's numerous allegations. Schweizer countered by highlighting the clear "pattern of behavior" in the Clintons' dealings (video via GAI):



When Stephanopoulos was called out after the interview for failing to disclose multiple high-dollar donations to the foundation, he finally relented and offered not one but two half-baked "apologies," claiming that he simply thought the $75K of gifts "were a matter of public record," but adding, "I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation."

Schweizer has since called for a rematch with ABC News and demanded the anchor come clean about his "hidden-handed journalism," disclosing not only his financial contributions to the foundation but his participation in its events, which Stephanopoulos has so far failed to do.

Shilling for Clinton Global Initiative - Sept 24, 2014

Here's the Clinton Global Initiative "unofficial infomercial" which Stephanopoulos provided the Clintons on ABC's dime on Good Morning America, Sept 24, 2014 (video via MRC):



On Bill Clinton, "The Philanthropist Who Happened to be President" - Sept 30, 2007

In a Sept. 30, 2007 interview with his former employer, Stephanopoulos asked Bill if he'd be "okay" with being remembered "as a philanthropist who happened to be President" (video via MRC):

STEPHANOPOULOS: There was this great story in The Atlantic this month about your philanthropy, the CGI [Clinton Global Initiative] and your other activities at the foundation. And the author says you're basically re-inventing philanthropy, or trying to re-invent philanthropy....He writes that, "as a result of this, history may remember Bill Clinton as the philanthropist who happened to be President." You okay with that?



Quotes Bill to Praise Bill's "Perfect Political Choreography" - Aug 27, 2008

After a couple of what ABC's Nightline host Terry Moran called "extraordinary" speeches by Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, Stephanopolous managed to quote Bill in order to heap praise on him: 

STEPHANOPOULOS: A night of perfect political choreography. The only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it’s a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?

The "Dream Ticket": Obama and Hillary - June 3, 2008

On Good Morning America leading up to presidential candidate Barack Obama's announcement of his running partner, Stephanopoulos made sure to give his opinion on "the best ticket for the Democrats," the wife of his former boss: 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is still on the table, the dream ticket. I mean, and I think one of the things they’re going to be talking about today is how hard does she [Hillary Clinton] push with her 17 million votes for that place on the ticket?...I think it’s the best ticket for the Democrats. I think if Barack Obama picks her, they have the best chance of winning.

Those Who Give to Clintons "Hope" It's "Going to Lead to Something" - April 28, 2015

We'll round this out with Stephanopoulos unwittingly condemning himself for his generosity to the Clinton Foundation. On The Daily Show two days after his infamous Schweizer interview, Stephanopoulos weighed in on host Jon Stewart's comments on the scandal surrounding the Clinton Foundation and quid pro quo arrangements with donors (video via The Daily Show):

STEPHANOPOULOS: I read the book that this is based on, "Clinton Cash," and I actually interviewed the author on Sunday. This is a tough one because when you actually look closely at it, [Schweizer] even says there’s no evidence of any direct action taken on behalf of the donors. But everybody also knows when those donors give that money to President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there’s a hope that that’s going to lead to something—and that’s what you have to be careful of.