What gives with media superstars who keep making serious professional “mistakes”?
Brian Williams fibs about being shot down during the Iraq War and he gets suspended by NBC News.
Bill O’Reilly fibs about “covering” the Falklands War while reporting from a safe distance … but he’s still on the job at Fox.
Now it’s George Stephanopoulos giving 75 grand to the Clinton Foundation and then failing to report it to his employers or to his ABC News viewers.
ABC calls it an honest mistake. It’s standing by the “Good Morning America” co-host and moderator of “This Week.”
It’s been known for 20 years that Stephanopoulos was an avid supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He worked in the Clinton White House as a senior political adviser. Then he made the switch to broadcast journalism and by most accounts — yes, some conservatives haven’t been so charitable — he’s done a credible job.
Why did he give to the Clinton Foundation — with one of its principals, Hillary Clinton, running for president? He said he’s deeply interested in two issues the foundation supports: the fight against deforestation and HIV/AIDS.
OK, fine. Has he not heard of, say, Greenpeace and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who fund efforts to fight those very causes? If he was interested more in the causes and less in the people who champion them, then he could have given to any number of reputable foundations to carry on those battles.
He didn’t. Now his reputation as a journalist has been called into serious — and legitimate — question.
Stephanopoulos isn’t the first political hired hand to make the transition to TV news. Diane Sawyer once wrote speeches for President Nixon and the late Tim Russert once was a key aide to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. They made the switch. Others have gone into political commentary after working for partisan pols — or themselves been politicians — on both sides of the aisle.
None of them, though, gave large sums of money to overtly political foundations while working as journalists or pundits or commentators.
George Stephanopoulos has created a huge mess for himself — and for his colleagues.