Objectivity by any other name…

Thanks to some fantastic work by the Washington Free Beacon, ABC chief news dude George Stephanopoulos has now admitted (albeit to POLITICO) that he has donated more than $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos has donated between $50,001 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, the charitable organization run by his former boss, records show. At least a portion of that money was donated in 2014.

Stephanopoulos confirmed the donation to POLITICO’s Dylan Byers after the Free Beacon contacted ABC News for comment. The host apologized for not disclosing the donation in a statement.

“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,” Stephanopolous said. “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. I apologize.”

There are two points to make here:

  1. George Stephanopoulos has been incredibly dismissive of reports linking the Clinton Foundation to any financial impropriety. He has repeatedly said that there is no direct evidence. In his mind, everything is just a big coincidence that has resulted in some partisan hackery.
  2. George Stephanopoulos is certainly within his right to make those donations, especially since he is a former Clinton staffer.

Of course, point number two leads to an ALLCAPS moment… actually, this is kind of a bolded ALLCAPS moment: WHY IN GOD’S NAME IS THE CHIEF NEWS ANCHOR AT ABC NEWS ALLOWED TO REPORT ON THE CLINTON FOUNDATION OR ANYTHING RELATED TO 2016’s PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RIGHT NOW?

When you go through journalism school, you are (supposed to be) taught ethics in media (I was, and I remember passing it). Specifically, like a judge, you are supposed to know when to step down if a conflict of interest arises. ABC News knows full well what work Stephanopoulos had prior to his working for them. The very moment the Clinton Foundation story broke and/or the moment Hillary officially decided she was going to run, there should have been a very serious come-to-Jesus meeting to determine if his judgment was going to be clouded.

Well… in a perfect world, that would have happened. In a perfect world, ABC would at the very least consider not having him to any story on the Clintons and leave that strictly to other reporters and, probably, not allow Stephanopoulos to have any say in the script whatsoever. But, that’s in a perfect world. In the current world of journalism… Ah, well. That’s just too much effort. This is just more evidence that the rules and standards of journalism (yes, they do in fact exist) are tossed aside and not followed at all.

Meanwhile, local journalists around the country are frankly shocked that a journalist could make so much money that $50,000+ is an actual donation amount one could make.

PS: ABC has confirmed they will NOT be punishing Stephanopoulos for not disclosing those donations.

PS: Jeff Blehar of Ace of Spades does point out that MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for $2,400 in donations to political groups, making MSNBC more journalistically ethical than ABC.

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