Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 4:33 PM

ABC’s Stephanopoulos Still Serving as Clintons’ Political Hack…?!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

During the mid-1990s, I was one of many worker bees at the D.C. headquarters of the Clinton-Gore Re-Election ’96 campaign.

We all buzzed around trying to seem relevant to the political ambitions of the most powerful man in the world. Yet even I saw enough of the compromises and sacrifices (of self and others) Bill and Hillary Clinton demanded of staffers to become irretrievably disaffected and disillusioned. Not just with the Clintons, but with the polarized spectacle Washington politics had become. This spectacle actually made it seem credible when Hillary blamed her husband’s open and notorious indiscretions on a vast right-wing conspiracy to ruin them….

clintonDM1410_468x668Apropos of which, Vincent W. Foster Jr. was perhaps the closest of all friends of Bill (FOBs) who rode on the Clintons’ bandwagon from Arkansas to Washington in 1993. Yet, within six months, he had become so disillusioned and disaffected he shot himself. But he left a note with this suicidal lament that, within six days at campaign headquarters, I understood all too well:

Here, ruining people is considered sport.

(New York Times, August 11, 1993)

Not that I was ever suicidal, mind you…. It’s just that the irony inherent in Foster’s lament is that no two people played this sport better than Bill and Hillary. A fact many acclaimed writers – from Bob Woodward to Peggy Noonan and Richard A. Posner – have chronicled in comprehensive and salacious detail.

1101940404_400But no writer evoked the disaffection and disillusionment Foster must have felt quite like George Stephanopoulos did (in confessional and redemptive tone) in his memoir, All Too Human: A Political Education (1999).

He, of course, served as Bill’s right-hand man during his first presidential campaign and first term in office (1991-1996) … and survived. But the abuse he testified to, which I suspect only a battered woman could relate to, was such that Bill (the batterer) felt compelled to apologize to George in his memoir, My Life (2004).

I have referred to George’s memoir on many occasions over the years to explain/justify my abiding antipathy towards Bill – as I did in “Exposing the Real Bill Clinton,” October 7, 2007.

___________________

As his former trusted aide, George Stephanopoulos, chronicled in his memoir of disillusionment and disaffection with the former president, Bill Clinton is All Too Human. And, despite his good intentions (and good deeds), he is really just a petulant, spiteful, egocentric, greedy, manipulative, unfaithful, impeached and pathologically self-righteous redneck!

But don’t take my word for it. Read former FBI director Louis Freeh’s eyewitness account of this man’s treachery in his (rebuttal?) memoir, My FBI (2005)… And, for good measure, read Lani Guinier’s equally revealing memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback Into a New Vision of Social Justice (1998).

She, you may recall, is the personal friend and Black Ivy League law professor who Bill publicly stabbed in the back. He did so just to pander to ‘right-wing conspirators’ who were smearing Lani as a quota queen, merely for recommending a voting system that would allow fairer representation of Blacks in government. Their cynical aim was to prevent Bill from appointing her to a key position in his Justice Department. It worked.

___________________

But, trust me folks, for every George, Louis, and Lani who can tell horror stories about Bill, there is a Tom, Dick, and Mary who can tell similar stories about Hillary – as Sally Bedell Smith documents in For Love of Politics: The Clintons In The White House (2007):

[S]he ‘frequently reduced her traveling aide to tears’ when the assistant failed to produce something Hillary needed.

She had a temper, but instead of ‘making nice’ afterwards, Hillary withdrew in cool silence…

[According to FOH Mary Mel French, who insists she cannot work for Hillary and keep their friendship], ‘That is why she has to have such a young [female] staff … they bow and scrape.’

The point is that, given George’s familiarity with both Bill and Hillary, he should have developed such allergic contempt that being associated with them again – even if only by ten degrees of separation – would cause him to break out in hives.

Clintons-Again-NRD-600For example, he could not have been surprised that, even after leaving the White House, they continued to be dogged by shady financial deals and extramarital affairs. Or that they showed their true primary colors in 2008 – after Barack Obama began posing a serious challenge to their plans for the restoration of their “2-for-1” presidency. Perhaps you recall Bill venting such indignation (at what he dismissed as the uppity Obama’s “fairytale” campaign), he came across more like a racist than the White man Toni Morrison once hailed as the “first Black president of the United States.”

You’d think they would’ve learned from 2008. But nobody knows better than George their congenital sense of entitlement. This is why they see nothing wrong with spending more of the billions they solicit for their Clinton Global Initiative on personal expenses than charitable causes. It is also why they are now preparing for a coronation instead of an election in 2016.

Meanwhile, no former staffer has enjoyed more professional success since purportedly leaving/escaping the Clinton vortex than George. In fact, it was truly awe-inspiring to watch him transition over the past eighteen years from political hack to bona fide journalist – eventually working his way into the coveted anchor chair at not one but two of the most respectable news and current-affairs programs on TV, namely ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.08.18 PMAll of this explains why I find reports that he waded back into the Clintons’ political cesspool in recent years so utterly stupefying. Especially because he did so in ways that gave a journalistic hack like Geraldo Rivera just cause to impugn not just his journalistic integrity but that of ABC News as well.

Geraldo Rivera sees a double standard at work in ABC News’ decision to stand by George Stephanopoulos after the network’s chief anchor apologized for failing to publicly disclose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation over the last three years.

In a Facebook post Friday morning, Rivera claimed he was fired by ABC News in 1985 for making a $200 political donation and wondered why Stephanopoulos isn’t getting the same treatment.

(Mediaite, May 15, 2015)

maxresdefault (3)Frankly, nothing demonstrated how compromised George has become quite like him being forced to deliver a Clintonian apology for failing to disclose these donations.

But, given that NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams for lying about his journalistic exploits, ABC News must be feeling considerable pressure to suspend George for lying (by omission) about his donations. This damning complaint by author Peter Schweizer can’t help:

I agreed to be interviewed, expecting a robust examination of my new book, Clinton Cash, and my reporting on the Clintons’ accumulation of massive personal wealth, cronyism and the lack of transparency surrounding the Clintons’ foundation.

I expected probing questions, similar to the ones I’ve received from Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, Chris Wallace on Fox News and Frank Sesno on CNN.

What I did not expect — what no one expected — was the sort of ‘hidden hand journalism’ that has contributed to America’s news media’s crisis of credibility in particular, and Americans’ distrust of the news media more broadly.

(USA Today, May 17, 2015)

In fact, as I watched this interview, I thought a clearly exasperated George might end up asking Schweizer if he’s part of that vast right-wing conspiracy Hillary famously complained about. Except that even left-wing newspapers like the New York Times have reported similar misgivings about the Clintons’ foundation. So, despite all of the journalistic credibility and respect he has worked so hard to earn over the years, this one episode has exposed George as just a glorified Clinton political hack. He can’t quit them.

Of course, like the New England Patriots standing by its hopelessly compromised quarterback, Tom Brady, ABC News might decide it has too much invested in a hopelessly compromised George to suspend him. Indeed, pulling George from covering the presidential campaign really would be tantamount to pulling Brady from playing in the Super Bowl.

What’s more, George can be forgiven for thinking that, if Bill can get away with lying about extramarital affairs as president of the United States, he can get away with lying about charitable donations as anchor for ABC News.

But there’s no denying that this episode has made road kill of his journalistic reputation; to say nothing of the mockery it has made of the principled reasons he delineated in his critically acclaimed memoir for cutting ties with the Clintons in the first place….

He may still have a job, but he’s now a journalistic joke. You know, like Bill Cosby still has a job, but he’s a comedic laughingstock.

Accordingly, we can add George’s name to the very long list of those who have sacrificed their professional integrity at the altar of the Clintons’ political ambitions and personal desires. Unsurprisingly, Washington journalists can barely contain the schadenfreude as they make a sport of trying to ruin him too. I just hope he’s made of sterner stuff than Vince Foster….

NOTE: I fully intend to honor my pledge to write no commentaries on the 2016 presidential campaign. But, because enquiring minds want to know, I shall vote for anyone but Hillary in the Democratic primary. If she’s the nominee (and that’s no guarantee), I’ll hold my nose and vote for her. Because, as odious as she may be, she’s far more likely to pursue the progressive policies I favor (re: universal healthcare, living wages, more diplomacy less war, infrastructure development, progressive tax reform, appointments to the Supreme Court, et al.) than any Republican nominee.

And, by the way, only a Black fool, with too little regard for or knowledge of Black-American history, would buy into the canard about not voting being a form of enlightened political protest.

Related commentaries:
Exposing real Bill

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