George Stephanopoulos has issued an apology of sorts for failing to disclose his contribution to the Clinton Foundation, as he tried to grill Peter Schweizer over his investigative reporting about the Clinton Foundation. Stephanopoulos said this:
I made charitable donations to the foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply. I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record.
However, in hindsight, 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.
This is pathetic and probably dishonest. Stephanopoulous’ contributions to the Clinton Foundation are “a matter of public record” in the sense that, if one does enough research, one can learn of them.
How could Stephanopoulos have thought that this state of affairs justified not telling his viewers about the contributions? Did he expect each member of his audience to comb the “public record” in an effort to see whether he’s a contributor to the Clinton Foundation?
Of course not. Stephanopoulos knew that his audience was ignorant of his connection to the Clinton Foundation. In all likelihood, he didn’t disclose the connection because he wanted to keep it that way.
Stephanopoulos also describes disclosure to his audience of his contributions as an “extra step” he should have taken. He thus tries to create the impression that he had already taken steps to disclose.
But as I understand it, the existence in the public record of evidence of his contribution did not involve an act of disclosure by Stephanopoulos. The former Clinton spinmeister appears to be manipulating the language in the hope of downplaying his deception.
ABC News has accepted Stephanolpoulos’ apology. It says the anchor made “an honest mistake.”
However, Rand Paul has called on Stephanopoulos to recuse himself from moderating ABC’s presidential debate, and Mike Lee’s communications director says that Sen. Lee won’t appear on ABC until the anchor recuses himself from all 2016 coverage.
All GOP presidential contenders should abstain from appearing with Stephanopoulos under any circumstances during this election season. The risk of more “honest mistakes” is too high.