Tag Archives: Diane Sawyer

Now it's Stephanopoulos on the block

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.

Jenner's announcement: Let's move on

Well, I had a decent night’s sleep after Bruce Jenner’s big announcement Friday.

He’s a woman … he said.

I looked outside this morning and I discovered that the leaves were still on the trees, the grass is still green, the sky is blue and the sun rose in the east just as it does every single day.

And yet some of us no doubt are tittering and wondering about the individual formerly known as The World’s Greatest Athlete and his decision to “transition” to womanhood.

Do I want to honor his privacy? I believe Jenner surrendered his privacy when he married his third wife and got involved in that reality TV shtick involving her daughters. Plus, he did the two-hour interview last night. No, privacy isn’t it.

The story bores me.

Therefore, I made a key decision this morning upon awakening.

It is that I won’t use this blog to get involved in the international discussion.

I might discuss the issue of transgenderhood in general down the road, sometime and in some other context. There might even be a mention of Jenner in the distant future.

Today? I’m going to take care of business — and wait for the sun to rise in the morning.

Worst-kept secret is out: Jenner's a woman

This story has been off my radar. I believe it’s still off the screen, except that tonight the principal player in this story is making international news.

Bruce Jenner, the former Olympic decathlon champion, Wheaties box icon, three-time husband and a father has declared he’s becoming a woman.


He went on the air for two prime-time hours to tell Diane Sawyer that he’s changing his sexual identity.

Honestly, I don’t know how to respond to this.

Do I respond to the news that an individual has decided to change his gender? That’s his call exclusively and it doesn’t matter to me one single bit. Thus, that part of the story remains off my radar — although it’s likely on everyone else’s.

Or does one respond to the fact that a major broadcast network chose to devote two hours to this story?

ABC Television is run by smart individuals who know their audience. The audience wants to hear it. I guess it’s a big deal to many millions of folks. It’s not to me.

I’m left, therefore, to ponder the direction that popular culture has taken us.

For now, I’m going to try to get a good night’s sleep. I’ll awaken tomorrow and likely will read a lot of commentary throughout the infinite Internet universe about what’s transpired tonight with Jenner’s revelation.

At the moment, I’m left merely to shake my head and try to comprehend the significance of Jenner’s declaration that “I’m not gay.”

Recalling Sawyer hatchet job

Diane Sawyer is leaving the ABC News anchor chair. Her colleague David Muir is replacing her.

That’s fine. Sawyer did a good job as anchor since taking the job in 2009. She was thorough and fair and presented the news accordingly.

However, my strongest memory of the body of Sawyer’s work involves a very high-profile trial that occurred right here in Amarillo. The defendant in this civil case was a fairly well-known personality in her own right: Oprah Winfrey. You’ve heard of her, yes?

Well, Winfrey got sued by some cattlemen over a comment she blurted out in 1997 during her TV talk show. She was interviewing this expert on “mad cow disease.” The expert made a comment about how ill-prepared beef can spread the disease, to which Winfrey exclaimed, “No more burgers!”

The cattlemen sued. The case was tried at the federal courthouse in downtown Amarillo. U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson tossed part of the case out. The rest of it was settled in Winfrey’s favor.

Shortly after that, Winfrey appeared on ABC News and was interviewed by Diane Sawyer, who tried for all she was worth to get Winfrey to paint Amarillo as a city full of gun-slinging rednecks who were bound and determined to convict her of defamation.

Amarillo is a “tough town,” Sawyer said. Winfrey didn’t take the bait. She spoke well of the hospitality shown to her here while she was in court every day.

Winfrey taped her show at the Amarillo Little Theater at night after she spent a day in court. She sold the place out every night. She brought guests in and bantered with them about the day she had spent in a federal courtroom.

I found Sawyer’s treatment of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle offensive when I heard it. Oprah, though, was thoroughly gracious and grateful for (a) the decision that went in her favor and (b) for the treatment she got from the community that found itself in the national spotlight.

Whatever. I wish Diane Sawyer well as she goes on with the rest of her life.

I’ll wonder, though, if she’s ever watched that interview she did with Oprah and thought: You know, I kind of wish I could do that one all over.

HRC's second-most surprising comment …

Having already declared surprise that the Benghazi flap would encourage Hillary Clinton to run for president, I’ve found perhaps the second-most interesting thing she said in that TV interview that aired Monday night.

It’s what she didn’t say.


ABC News’s Diane Sawyer asked Clinton about a comment she made about Monica Lewinsky — you remember, yes? — in which she was quoted as calling “that woman” a “narcissistic loony tune.” Clinton’s response? “I am not going to comment on what I said or didn’t say in the late 1990s,” she said.

There it is. She said it.

Frankly, I have to agree with that description … not that it excuses her husband’s behavior, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Sawyer then noted that Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said that the Lewinsky scandal that resulted in the impeachment of President Clinton is fair game if Hillary Clinton runs for president in two years.

“You know, he can talk about what he wants to talk about. And if he decides to run, he’ll be fair game too for everybody,” she said. I’m reminded a bit of what the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Lufkin, once said about an opponent who kept bringing up negative aspects of Wilson’s admittedly flamboyant lifestyle. “I have never initiated a negative campaign,” Wilson told me, “but if my opponent keeps saying those things, I’ll be prepared to respond.” Brother, did he ever.

Message to Sen. Paul? Be very careful if you intend to go there.