(Rich Galen) – George Stephanopoulos appears to have made a mistake. It was a mistake he made three times having given $25,000 per year for three years to one or another of that Gordian Knot of elements that make up the Clinton’s foundation.
Stephanopoulos reportedly makes about $7 million a year so $75,000 won’t make him miss a meal, but it’s real money.
Why should we care about that? I’m not sure. The Clinton collection of foundations make it unclear to me (with my multiple degrees in accounting and law) whether they are even tax deductible but, as President Barack Obama has said, people who make as much as George make enough and shouldn’t be able to take a full tax deduction.
I don’t care about that, either. I don’t make enough.
The only reason I think this is important is because since he left the Clinton White House he has held himself out to be a journalist.
And he’s not.
Here’s the first graf of the Wikipedia entry for George Stephanopoulos:
“[He] is an American journalist who works for ABC News as chief anchor. He is a U.S. Democratic Party political advisor.”
I left nothing out of that quote. The second sentence immediately follows the first (or did, when I cut-and-pasted it).
Carol Simpson – a former ABC News colleague – told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” over the weekend that Stephanopoulos is “really is not a journalist.”
Ah Hah! Get my friend Lanny Davis on the phone for me!
George Stephanopoulos can’t be guilty of a lapse of journalistic ethics (in itself an oxymoron) because … wait for it … even real journalists say he’s not a journalist.
Not a journalist, not covered by journalistic ethics.
The defense rests, your honor.
Stephanopoulos and I crossed paths – literally – when he was the senior House Floor guy for Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt while I was Press Secretary for Republican Whip Newt Gingrich.
As leadership staff, we had access to the House Floor where we would occasionally meet and chat for a few minutes. We weren’t buddies, but we were certainly cordial with one another.
Point is, no one has ever confused me with being a journalist..
The mistake Stephanopoulos made was aggressively interviewing Peter Schweitzer about his book on the relationship between the Clinton foundations and official Washington, “Clinton Cash.”
Stephanopoulos should have disclosed his connections to the Clinton foundations and he should have recused himself from conducting that interview.
That’s what a real journalist would have done.
The other day, I had a discussion with such a real reporter. The question on the table was: How many national TV political reporters under 40 have ever covered a city council meeting or a school board meeting?
Our mutual guess was zero or really close to zero.
That is not to say they’re not talented and good looking. But there is some serious doubt that most of them would recognize a solid political story if they tripped over it, assuming they didn’t happen to be on the bus with Susan Page, Dan Balz, or someone else of their stature.
I was a real reporter once. I was the news director of WMOA radio (1490 on your AM dial in Marietta, Ohio 45750). I was a pretty good reporter and learned how to listen to the answer of someone I was interviewing and not let them slide off my question. “That was a good answer,” I was known to say. “Now, let’s do the questionI asked.”
I did a lecture to House communications aides not long ago. There were maybe 40 people in the room. I asked how many had been reporters somewhere along the line before they got their present job working in the office of a Member of the United States Congress as a communications aide.
One person raised his hand.
Reporters with no experience dealing with press aides with no experience.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.