The RNC Should Ban George Stephanopoulos From Participating In 2016 Debates

The RNC Should Ban George Stephanopoulos From Participating In 2016 Debates

After being questioned by the Washington Free Beacon about large donations he made to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News disclosed to Politico that he had funneled $50,000 to the tax-exempt organization in 2013 and 2014. Stephanopoulos’s secret donations to the Clintons’ non-profit came while he was professionally covering the family for ABC News. And then, after he was busted by the Free Beacon, he decided to leak the news of his secret Clinton cash contributions to Politico in order to deny Free Beacon its scoop. Classy, huh?

It gets even worse, though. It wasn’t just that Stephanopoulos made the contributions while he was supposed to be objectively covering the Clinton family on behalf of a major broadcast news organization. It’s bigger than that. Just last month, Stephanopoulos interviewed Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, a blockbuster investigative expose of the Clinton Foundation’s finances. Not once did Stephanopoulos disclose his cash ties to the Clinton Foundation. Stephanopoulos, who we are supposed to believe is an objective journalist, deliberately chose to hide the fact that he was a Clinton Foundation donor.

“It was an honest mistake,” ABC News told Politico, in apparent attempt to suggest to its viewers that not only does ABC News not care about transparency in reporting, but that it’s also unaware of the actual meanings of the words “honest” and “mistake.”

How do you solve a problem like mens rea? Easy: by banning it from participating in any 2016 presidential debates. That’s a no-brainer. Under no circumstances should George Stephanopoulos be allowed by the Republican National Committee to set foot on any debate stage. By his actions, he has proven he cannot be trusted to be an objective, transparent, and accountable debate moderator. But it shouldn’t stop there.

ABC News, if it cares one whit about its reputation, should ban Stephanopoulos from doing any 2016 campaign coverage. It’s bad enough that he was once a Clinton White House staffer. But everyone went along with the charade that his political days were behind him and that he just wanted to be an objective reporter. That charade ends today.

During an official interview for ABC News, Stephanopoulos deliberately ran interference for Hillary Clinton’s foundation–a foundation to which he had contributed tens of thousands of dollars–without ever disclosing his personal ties. Just take a look at a few of his comments and questions to Schweizer to get a flavor for his coverage of the foundation’s financial scandal.

“But you take it pretty far,” he told Schweizer. “The Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence.”

“No smoking gun,” Stephanopoulos added. “It’s nothing that would warrant a criminal investigation.”

The best part, however, isn’t in Stephanopoulos’s interference on behalf of the Clintons. It’s the following exchange, in which he attacked Schweizer for failing to disclose what Stephanopoulos described as vital information about uranium magnate Frank Giustra:

SCHWEIZER: Well, he sold his stock, but his firm, Endeavor Financial, continued to do finance deals well after that. And the individuals involved in the book, as you probably read, there are nine — count them, nine major contributors to the Clinton Foundation who were involved in that nuclear deal.

The two individuals who were the financial advisers on the deal of the sale to the Russians, they’re both major Clinton Foundation supporters. The chairman of that Foundation, Ian Telfer, whose donations were not disclosed, campaign — and sorry, a Clinton Foundation contributor. And there are others.

So this is not just about Frank Giustra. This is multiple layers (INAUDIBLE)…

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, but you didn’t disclose in your book that he had sold the interest.

Oh, so not disclosing stuff is bad? That’s a bad thing, now? Good to know, George. Good to know you’re such a stickler for transparency.

The former Clinton staffer turned ABC News anchor didn’t interview Schweizer. He interrogated him. And he did on behalf of a tax-exempt organization to which he had direct ties which he deliberately refused to disclose. You really need to read through the entire interrogation to see how one-sided Stephanopoulos’s questions were. He wasn’t interested in his audience learning about the results of Schweizer’s investigation. His main goal, which is readily apparent, was to run interference for the Clintons. It’s as simple as that.

It’s strange, given his apparent love of transparency professed during the Schweizer interview, that Stephanopoulos also failed to disclose his cash ties to the Clinton Foundation when he interviewed Bill Clinton about the foundation’s work back in September of 2014.

It was a pure puff piece, designed to allow the former president to put the best possible spin on the shady goings-on of his massive tax-exempt enterprise. And Stephanopoulos made sure to sing directly from his former boss’s song sheet throughout the entire interview.

George Stephanopoulos cannot be trusted to objectively cover the 2016 elections. He cannot be trusted to be honest about his biases. He cannot be trusted to disclose five-figure cash payments to controversial organizations run by the very people he’s supposed to cover. If ABC News doesn’t take immediate steps to prevent him from covering the election–and from participating in the 2016 debates as a moderator or commentator–then the RNC should. There’s no way on earth he should be allowed to participate in any 2016 presidential debates.

Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.
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