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George Stephanopoulos And A Question Of Journalistic Ethics

ABC's "Good Morning America" - 2015

George Stephanopoulos, the former Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton who is now the host of ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week, disclosed today that he had made a donation to the Clinton Foundation that was previously undisclosed even while he was defending the Foundation on the air:

WASHINGTON — George Stephanopoulos, the chief anchor of ABC News, said Thursday he would not be involved in moderating a Republican presidential debate after he acknowledged an “uncharacteristic lapse” by donating money to the Clinton Foundation in recent years.

The nature of the disclosure of the donations, made only after news outlets began asking questions, combined with his longstanding ties as a former aide to President Bill Clinton, raised questions that could jeopardize Mr. Stephanopoulos’ future as a top-draw interviewer and debate moderator.

“I’m sorry because I don’t want anything to compromise my integrity or the standards of ABC News,” he said in an interview. Mr. Stephanopoulos said he donated $75,000 to the foundation.

The blowback was particularly acute among Republicans, who have long harbored suspicions about Mr. Stephanopoulos’ closeness to the Clintons and accused him of liberal bias.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called earlier Thursday for Mr. Stephanopoulos to recuse himself from any future debates. ABC News is scheduled to host a Republican presidential debate in February, and Mr. Stephanopoulos later pulled out of any role in the debate.

The news of the donations, which were first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and Politico, seemed only to deepen distrust of Mr. Stephanopoulos among conservatives, who have always approached him warily despite the fact that he last worked for the Clintons in 1996 and has been in the news business for more than a decade.

His role as such a prominent political journalist for ABC News has been a source of conflict between presidential campaigns and the network since he started working there.

One episode from the 2012 campaign especially crystallized conservative concerns. During a debate in New Hampshire in early 2012, Mr. Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Mitt Romney, the future Republican nominee, if he believed that states could outlaw birth control — a question that the Romney campaign saw as off-point and far afield of the issues that voters were concerned with. Mr. Stephanopoulos pressed the question repeatedly, asking six follow-up questions.

Many Republicans have said since that it was the beginning of the “war on women” line of attack from Democrats that became a defining issue that year.

ABC has made a concerted effort to present Mr. Stephanopoulos as the face of its news division, giving him the title of chief anchor last year.

The appointment broke a longstanding tradition in which the evening newscaster leads coverage for breaking news stories and election coverage. David Muir took over “World News Tonight” last year, replacing Diane Sawyer.

(…)

In the interview, Mr. Stephanopoulos used the word “sorry” five times, saying he wanted to support the foundation’s “good work” in areas like AIDS prevention and climate change.

“I realize now that was a mistake,” he said. “Even though I did it to support those causes directly, I should have been extra careful to avoid any possible question of any possible conflicts. That’s why it was a mistake to fail to disclose particularly, and to make the contributions in the first place.”

Mr. Stephanopoulos’s support of the Clinton Foundation was disclosed by the organization itself. According to figures from NOZA, a database of charitable donations that uses publicly available information, the Clinton Foundation in 2012 listed Mr. Stephanopoulos as a donor giving money in the range of $10,001 to $25,000. In 2013, he was listed among donors who cumulatively gave from $25,001 to $50,000. And in 2014, he was listed as having given from $50,001 to $100,000.

The news of Stephanopoulos’s donation to the Clinton Foundation set off quite the debate both in the political blogosphere and among media critics and writers. For conservatives, the news simply served to reinforce doubts that they’ve had about his objectivity:

WASHINGTON — Even after more than a decade as an analyst, anchor and public face for ABC News, George Stephanopoulos has never been able to shake the image that many Republicans have of him: Clinton hatchet man.

That image was glaring to the Republican strategists who blocked him from moderating a debate last year in the Senate race in Iowa.

It was the elephant in the room in 2011 when, after an interview that Mitt Romney’s advisers saw as especially argumentative, Mr. Stephanopoulos visited the campaign’s headquarters to try to reassure them that he was impartial.

And it has nagged at the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, who has told people repeatedly that he does not want the anchorman anywhere near a debate stage in 2016.

(…)

Conservatives have a long list of grievances against Mr. Stephanopoulos dating back to when the American public first caught a glimpse of him as a scruffy caffeine-addicted and fiercely partisan strategist for Bill Clinton in “The War Room,” a documentary about the 1992 campaign.

Until now, though, allegations that he lacked journalistic objectivity had been mostly circumstantial — a badgering interview, a series of off-subject questions in a debate. As he reminds his detractors regularly, including on Thursday, his history shows that he is not shy about asking difficult questions of Democrats and Hillary Rodham Clinton, like the time he pressed her in a debate in 2008 about why most voters did not find her honest and trustworthy.

But with his acknowledgment that he had given a significant sum to the Clinton Foundation, he found himself facing accusations that he was effectively trying to buy favor with his former employers as Mrs. Clinton seeks the presidency for a second time.

In other words, this latest revelation was just another confirmation of the fact that President’s former press spokesperson has never really left his partisan roots and, indeed, there were many on the right who made that observation several weeks ago when Stephanopoulos interviewed the author of Clinton Cash, the newly released book detailing many of the problems surrounding the activities of former President Clinton’s foundation during the time that Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. Before he issued the apology, several people defended Stephanopolous and argued that the donations were not a big deal, such as Mediaite’s Matt Willstein, who argues that there is a big difference between making a donation to a political campaign and donating money to an ostensibly charitable organization. Willstein’s colleague Joe Concha, on the other hands, argues that ABC News should bench Stephanopoulos from election-related coverage all together:

George Stephanopoulos needs to remove himself from ABC’s This Week on Sunday mornings immediately. And if he won’t do it himself, ABC News management — starting with ABC president James Goldston — needs to do it for him.

Why? Because Stephanopoulos, a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, apologized today for not disclosing $50,000 in contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

We talk about optics in this space regularly, and when ABC News’ chief anchor and host of its Sunday morning political talk show donates to the likely Democratic nominee’s charitable foundation and doesn’t reveal that fact before every interview he does with anyone seen as an enemy or competitor of the Clintons, it’s hiding in clear sight an obvious conflict of interest.

More than a few people in the business wondered aloud why Stephanopulos conducted such a partisan interview with Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash. It was as if we were witnessing the 1993 version of George, the one who served as de facto press secretary for the Clinton administration, trying to destroy a narrative as if he was getting paid to do it. In case you missed it, Schweizer’s credibility was attacked for the entire interview while exactly zero of his claims about the Clintons were even remotely entertained by the host — the same who contributed to the very foundation in question.

(…)

[N]obody is saying Stephanopoulos should be fired for this. But a suspension certainly makes sense given his failure to disclose the three donations he made ($25K each) over a two-year span, and the poor light this sheds on ABC, currently #1 in the primetime news race. And when he returns, Martha Raddatz should take his seat out of the This Week bullpen, which she’s already used to doing on occasion. As for his hosting GMA, that can go on after the suspension because serious politics are discussed less and less on the program.

Concha goes on to compare Stephanopoulos’s situation to that of former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann who was suspended and then ultimately dismissed from the network when it was revealed that he made donations to a political candidate in violation of company policy for its on-air talent. While Willstein does have a point that there is a difference between Olbermann’s donation and Stephanopoulos’s, it’s important to remember that this news about undisclosed charitable donations to a foundation tied to both his former employer and the spouse of that employer, who just so happens to be running for President comes in the context of everything we already know about Stephanopolous. Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that, just a month ago, Stephanopoulos himself said that nobody gives money to the Clinton Foundation without expecting something in return. The revolving door between partisan politics and the media has existed for quite a long time, but few people from the political world have taken quite the ride that he has from being the Press Secretary to a campaign and a President to the host of two of the most prominent shows on the ABC network. It’s possible, I suppose, to accept the idea that Stephanopolous can be objective when he’s covering some generic race between a Republican and a Democrat, but it’s entirely understandable for people to wonder just how objective he can be when he’s covering the Presidential campaign of someone he has long had a close relationship. Indeed, one would be naive to not wonder just how objective George Stephanopolous is being when he is covering Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Presidency.

Questions about Stephanopoulos’s objectivity aren’t just limited to Republicans, though. During the 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination, there were several points at which his coverage of the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were brought into question by Democrats and by media critics. One particular incident occurred in April 2008 when he moderated a debate between Obama and Clinton just weeks prior to the Pennsylvania primary. After the debate was over, Stephanopolous faced heavy criticism for questions directed at Obama that many described as “gotcha” questions on issues such as his ties to Bill Ayers and Reverend Jeremiah Wright and a general overall tone that seemed to be far tougher on Obama than it was on Clinton.

This isn’t to suggest that every person who has had a career in politics can’t have a career in journalism. Tim Russert worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo, two of the most prominent New York Democrats of the 1970s and 80s, and in his later years he made a career as someone who held feet to the fire on Meet The Press regardless of what party the guests belonged to. Chuck Todd worked for Democrats before joining NBC as well and has done much the same thing, and Diane Sawyer worked for Richard Nixon after he left the White House before joining ABC News. Stephanopolous’s case has always seemed different, though, perhaps because he was the public face of a campaign and Presidency that marked the beginning of a particularly partisan era in American politics. Whatever it is, though, I’m not sure that anyone has ever put him in the same category as Russert or, say, Bob Schieffer at Face The Nation, and there’s obviously a reason for that.

I’m not sure what the answer to this problem actually is. I don’t think that Concha’s suggestion that Stephanopolous should effectively be suspending from covering politics for the next eighteen months makes very much sense. At the same time, though, I don’t think he’s entitled to the conceit that he is an objective analyst either. Furthermore, as The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple notes, it is fairly clear that this issue is snowballing for both ABC and Stephanopoulos and that it has become much more than something that just partisan Republicans complain about. Perhaps the appropriate decision is for ABC to discipline in however they wish, and then to make it policy going forward that some sort of disclaimer be issued whenever he’s covering political issues related to the Clinton campaign. It would be awkward, but if they want to maintain any sense of credibility going forward, it seems to me as if it is entirely necessary.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Seriously? You found the one guy in journalism who made a secretive donation to the Democrats and somehow “both sides do it” when there is a whole network of quid-pro-quo crap going on under Roger Ailes? Maybe it’s because they give a little wink when they say “Fair and Balanced”. Plus the morning chicks are pretty hot.

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  2. James Pearce says:

    By donating so much money, Stephanopoulos should have expected his impartiality to be questioned. If his donation had been smaller, one grand rather than seventy-five, probably not as big a deal.

    That said, it’s a bit hard to take the Republican complaints seriously here. They have an entire network biased in their favor. The Clintons can’t have one dude?

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  3. legion says:

    Oh yes, the Conservative definition of “ethics” in journalism… pillory a guy who _gave_ money to an organization he then defended, but nary a blip about the literally uncountable stream of mouthpieces on the Right who are actively _paid by_ they people and groups they champion on the air, week after week.

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  4. Ron Beasley says:

    He contributed a large sum of money to a foundation that has done an incredible amount of good. Then you have the entire organization known as FOX “news” that only contributes to partisan hate. Can journalists ever really be objective?

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  5. Jack says:

    @James Pearce:

    That said, it’s a bit hard to take the Republican complaints seriously here. They have an entire network biased in their favor. The Clintons can’t have one dude all the rest??

    FIFY

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  6. Tony W says:

    I would add that Stephanopoulos was never viewed as purely objective (as none of us should be) largely because he worked on Bill Clinton’s campaign and served in his White House before leaving to become a journalist. This is a big pile of zero.

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  7. george says:

    I assume every journalist has biases, even if unconscious ones. The trick is to read a wide variety of sources so you get biases from all sides, rather than trying to eliminate biases.

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  8. Jack says:

    News Flash: NBC, CBS, and MSNBC to hire James Carville, Rahm Emanuel and Paul Begala as their “independent” network anchors. Plans to have them moderate presidential debates are underway.

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  9. Davebo says:

    @Jack:

    James Carville, Rahm Emanuel and Paul Begala are anchors? On what planet?

    And since when is Mary Joe Matalin chopped liver?

    Voltaire is smiling.

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  10. stonetools says:

    I’m still waiting for Doug to post ONCE on the billionaires who are directly buying the Republican prsidential nominees in a process that looks much more corrupt to me than someone giving money to a charitable foundation co-owned by the Democratic prsidential nominee. Until then, I can’t really take these posts about “Clinton corruption” seriously. There is a biblical passage about logs and motes that comes to mind.
    That said,this is a big pile of nothing. Did you know that Murdoch’s media company donated millions to the Clintons? What does this mean? Exactly nothing, I say.

    According to Federal Election Commission and Center for Responsive Politics data, 21st Century Fox News Corp. has donated more than $3 million to Clinton family accounts. Overall, this lands Fox as the Clinton family’s 9th largest donor over the course of the family’s political involvement.

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  11. Jack says:

    @Davebo: George Stephanopoulos wasn’t an anchor until ABC made him one.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: Some of us came to OTB looking for knowledgeable, thoughtful conservative voices. You ain’t one.

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  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    Sorry for the OT post, but on multiple computers/browsers, this site periodically redirects to a site with a “Gardenclub.com” address. It only loads once in a while. I’m guessing some sort of advertisement bug.

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  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    George Stephanopoulos is not a journalist, and has no ethics. So there’s no question at play here.

    Seriously… Bryon York takes a stroll down memory lane. When ABC hired him, the said that he would be an analyst, not a reporter. Then he became an analyst and a correspondent for the 2000 campaign. Then he became host of “This Week,” and later added “chief Washington correspondent” to his list of titles. And recall in the 2012 presidential debate, he pulled the whole “outlaw contraception” thing on Romney (literally) out of left field?

    So he was interviewing the author of the book about the Clinton Foundation. He went into detail about how the guy had worked for President Bush for a while, but didn’t mention that Stephanopoulos had given $50,000 to the Foundation. Whoops, that was a mistake — it was actually $75,000.

    Oh, and Stephanopoulos went on Jon Stewart once, and during the interview declared that no one gives money to the Clintons without expecting a little quid pro quo. “… but everybody also knows that when those donors give that money to President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him… there’s a hope that that will lead to something…”

    So, George, what did you hope to get for your $75,000? And did you get it?

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  15. Jack says:

    @gVOR08: Oh, BURN!

    You act like the liberal commentators are knowledgeable and thoughtful.

    Pointing out that every network but Fox has a liberal slant is indeed knowledgeable and thoughtful.

    But again, thanks for proving your unbiased liberal slant.

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  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I have seen this behavior as well on my computer.

    Back OT – have we entered some alternate reality where “Good Morning America” and “This Week” constitute actual journalism?

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  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @gVOR08: Some of us came to OTB looking for knowledgeable, thoughtful conservative voices.

    The problem is, your definition of “knowledgeable” and “thoughtful” means “willing to reject and attack conservatives, and admit that liberals are right on a whole bunch of things.”

    In other words, non-conservatives.

    It’s a variant of the “no true Scotsman” scam. If they disagree with you, then obviously they aren’t “knowledgeable” and “thoughtful,” because if they were, they wouldn’t disagree with you.

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  18. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Back OT – have we entered some alternate reality where “Good Morning America” and “This Week” constitute actual journalism?

    George Stephanopoulos’ official titles are “chief political correspondent” and “chief anchor.” He’s also been “chief Washington correspondent.” These are actual journalistic titles.

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  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Which is a dodge, and you know it. Neither of those programs even resembles journalism.

    If Paula Deen changed her title to “chief anchor”, would that convert her various programs to journalism as well?

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  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: If Paula Deen was granted those title by ABC News, then I’d say that ABC News thought they were journalism.

    Which makes your response a dodge, and you should have known it.

    ABC Newsalso pushed his objectivity enough to have him moderate a presidential debate. Which was a complete farce, but they did it anyway. You wanna explain that?

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  21. Cd6 says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but learning that a tv personality donated to a charitable foundation led by his former boss really has convinced ME not to vote for Hillary. Good job Doug, you win.

    I suppose now I’m all in for… Hell I don’t know. Carly Fiorina? Ted Cruz? Both of them would make much better presidents that Hillary, who would have the gall to live in a world where tv commentators might donate to a charity.

    Is this the biggest scandal of our time? Probably

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  22. Cd6 says:

    Seriously though, if that’s the last time you ever quote Joe Concha, it’d be a good thing. The dude is a desperate Fox News applicant who spends all his time DEMANDING things from ABC or Obama or whoever the hell is target of the outrage du jour.

    “I’m a white guy with two suits and slicked back hair, insisting the media is corrupt and in the tank for Obama. Why hasn’t Roger called yet?”

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  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Cd6: So that’s the latest spin? “It’s a charity, so it’s all good?”

    So we’re now pretending that the Clinton Foundation is a perfectly wonderful and unquestionable charity, and not a graft machine for the Clinton family and their hangers-on? That all the questionable conduct never happened?

    Mitt Romney gave a lot of money to charities, too, and they were held up as reasons to attack him in 2012. But expecting a single standard from the left is pretty much a lost cause.

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  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re avoiding the issue. Do you consider “Good Morning America’ “or “This Week” to be journalism?

    If so, you have bigger problems than Stephanopolous sending a check to a charity.

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  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Mitt Romney gave a lot of money to charities, too, and they were held up as reasons to attack him in 2012. But expecting a single standard from the left is pretty much a lost cause.

    LOL, cue up the “conservatives are victims” whine.

    That certainly didn’t take long …

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  26. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Networks cross-promote interviews and segments between shows and across their cable networks so much that there isn’t much distinction between the morning shows and the rest. They have the same anchors often, and interview the same political figures. Indeed, a political author is more likely to get an interview on a weekday morning show than on the nightly news.

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  27. Paul L. says:

    LOL, cue up the “conservatives are victims” whine.
    That is why conservatives created a term for it.

    Swiftboating.

    Oh wait.

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  28. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    LOL, cue up the “conservatives are victims” whine.

    Apparently, only Liberals can claim to be victims.

    Wasn’t it Hillary that claimed there was a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”?

    No victimhood there, no.

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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    Indeed, a political author is more likely to get an interview on a weekday morning show than on the nightly news.

    Sure, usually when he/she is selling their latest book. Does that somehow raise the level of conversation inherent to these show to the level of journalism?

    I imagine that Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan will be impressed by the fact that you just converted them to being journalists too 😀

    (Do we have to call Whoopie Goldberg a journalist now as well?)

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  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Good Morning America and This Week are both productions of ABC News, so it’s clear that ABC News considers them part of journalism. They are representing them as journalism.

    Personally, I don’t think much of what comes out of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc. to not be journalism, but my opinion isn’t what matters. It’s what ABC is purporting.

    Here’s a list of ABC News programs. The only one that leaps out as an oddball is The View, and that was just shifted from ABC Daytime six months ago.

    So why don’t you explain why you are better qualified to categorize ABC’s programs than ABC is.

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The only one that leaps out as an oddball is The View, and that was just shifted from ABC Daytime six months ago.

    So, you just answered my previous question with a “yes, under my argument, Whoopie Goldberg is a journalist too.”

    Beginning to see why it might be a weak argument?

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  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: So asking you to not use double standards is now a “whine?” I had no idea you had a Constitutional right to be a hypocrite. Must be in one of those penumbras of an implied right or something…

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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m not. I’m asserting that it’s equally stupid for either side to do it. In the context of that argument, “well, they do it too” amusingly becomes “well, I’m just as stupid as they are”.

    Good job 😀

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  34. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You’re describing the actual problem, and saying that there’s no way it could have happened, so there’s no problem.

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  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    The actual problem here seems to be a decided inability to recognize what is journalism and what isn’t, but that’s just my opinion.

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  36. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Considering ABC calls them “News Programs”, is it any wonder people think the Daily Show and E! is actual news?

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  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I’m not sure that administratively lumping various programs together under a division with the nominal title of “news” really qualifies a talk show as being journalism. The content of the information delivered, the context of that information and the way in which it is delivered determine that classification, but again, you’re entitled to your opinion.

    What is your end goal here? That Stephanopolous be fired?

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  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The actual problem is that ABC News, among others, puts itself forward as a journalistic authority, but pulls crap like this on a regular basis. And your defense of them is a variant of the old Animal House defense — “you effed up; you trusted us!”

    But please go on and argue that ABC News isn’t really journalism. It’s one that I’ve been making for a couple of decades. But please, could you moderate your condescension? After years and years of being told “of course ABC News is journalism,” it’s a bit whiplashy to be told “Of course ABC News isn’t journalism.”

    And as noted, the move of The View is really, really recent. GMA has been part of the News division for its entire almost 40 years of existence, and This Week since its inception almost 34 years ago.

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  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Again, you are dodging the point. Do YOU consider Good Morning America to be a news show? You actually think it’s journalism??

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  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: What part of “Personally, I don’t think much of what comes out of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc. to not be journalism” was too convoluted for your highly-trained, Ivy League-educated brain to grasp? Should I have explicitly said that I think that what isn’t fluff is lies on shows like GMA?

    Again, my opinion doesn’t matter. ABC News is pushing GMA and TW as “journalism,” and they’ve been busted as pushing a fraud. “But they didn’t fool everyone” is NOT a defense.

    Edit: I just noticed that I had an inadvertent double negative in that line. It should have been “Personally, I don’t think much of what comes out of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc. to not be journalism.” Regardless, my point — that my opinion isn’t germane, but their attempted fraud is what matters — stands.

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  41. al-Ameda says:

    I have never considered George Stephanopoulos to be a journalist, he is part of the commentariat, and I consider his actions and opinions in that light.

    How is he different from George Will? I do not see a meaningful difference – Will supports certain politicians, some actively.

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  42. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: My goal is, as should be everyone else’s, is to remove the name Stephanopolous from anything that dubs itself NEWS. Stephanopolous is a partisan political hack and always will be.

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  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: I have never considered George Stephanopoulos to be a journalist, he is part of the commentariat, and I consider his actions and opinions in that light.

    How is he different from George Will?

    ABC News disagrees. Will has always been labeled a commentator/analyst. Stephanopoulos has been granted journalistic titles (and, presumably, authority) such as “correspondent” and “anchor.”

    Again, just because you weren’t fooled doesn’t make it OK for ABC News to lie.

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  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, in other words, you’re arguing in circles to no purpose other than to be contrarian.

    As usual. Have fun …

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  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: And you, as usual, are finding excuses to make the discussion about other commenters, and avoid the issue. Was that a special class at Harvard Law, or are you just naturally mendacious?

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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What is the issue, exactly? That you’re determined to characterize someone who pretty clearly isn’t a journalist as being one based on the name of the division that he works for.

    Again, what do you want? What do you think should be the outcome of this revelation that a “journalist” wrote a check to a charity?

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  47. Moosebreath says:

    Fun as this back and forth is over who is and is not an actual news anchor, I found the funniest statement in the original post to be:

    “Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that, just a month ago, Stephanopoulos himself said that nobody gives money to the Clinton Foundation without expecting something in return. ”

    Of course, applying that logic to Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers or the other billionaires contributing to candidates buying our political system is a leap too far for Doug to ever make.

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  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Again, just because you weren’t fooled doesn’t make it OK for ABC News to lie.

    ABC News lied? Gee they didn’t know that Stephanopoulos was a commentator, an opinion person?

    How does that happen?

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  49. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’m simply amazed at how quickly Stephy (I’m tired of typing that out) switches hats. Hired by ABC as an analyst, with promises that he’d never be an actual journalist. Then, he slowly morphs into enough of an objective journalist to moderate a debate among Republican presidential candidates.

    Tell me, do you recall a Republican political analyst being invited to moderate a debate among Democratic candidates? And I mean solo, not on a panel.

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Imagine how surprised they are going to be when they find out that Whoopie Goldberg is a journalist.

    It’s just a world gone mad, I tell you what … 😆

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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, in other words, we’re back to the “UNFAIR!!!!!!!’ thing again. Yawn …

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  52. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The whole point is that ABC has blurred the distinction between journalism, entertainment, and commentary. It’s a risk that always exists in reporting, and some argue that dividing the three is a fairly new phenomenon. But Stephanopoulos has been employed at ABC News, has sat in the anchor’s chair, has interviewed clowns and puppies and authors and politicians, all without a disclaimer about his lack of objectivity – indeed, with an explicit denial of his lack of objectivity. You’re right to look at this and say that it’s completely messed up, but in saying so, you’re agreeing with Jenos.

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  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    The whole point is that ABC has blurred the distinction between journalism, entertainment, and commentary.

    ah, I see, so nobody in the broadcasting world other than ABC has done this, correct?

    Tony Snow, for example. Journalist, ok, but objective? Are there any truly objective journalists left? (For that matter, are there any actual journalists left at all?)

    You’re missing my broader point – we largely no longer have journalism, or journalists. The function itself, may it RIP, is pretty much dead.

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  54. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Tell me, do you recall a Republican political analyst being invited to moderate a debate among Democratic candidates? And I mean solo, not on a panel.

    What I remember was Katie Couric’s ‘ambush’ interview of Sarah Palin, the one wherein Katie unfairly asked Sarah a completely biased question: “I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?” Answer: (((crickets)))

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  55. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    ah, I see, so nobody in the broadcasting world other than ABC has done this, correct?

    No, I specifically addressed that point when I said “It’s a risk that always exists in reporting, and some argue that dividing the three is a fairly new phenomenon”.

    You’re missing my broader point – we largely no longer have journalism, or journalists.

    If you wanted to say that you agree with Jenos, you could have simply done it by saying “I agree with Jenos”. At a minimum, you shouldn’t have argued with him to cover up your agreement.

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  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    I argue with him mostly as mental exercise because he likes to argue to no purpose for the sake of argument. So does my 14 year old. It is what it is.

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  57. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Actually, as he was the one to post first, and you came along and agreed with him in an adversarial way, aren’t you the one in this case who was arguing for the sake of argument?

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  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    Actually, no, I replied to Neil with a question. He chose to pick it up from there and run with it.

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  59. Modulo Myself says:

    What I take from Pinky and Jenos’ complaints is that the GOP’s presidential candidates are no match for a guy who asks celebrities about their juicing strategies. Given that Jeb Bush was just schooled by a college student, maybe the editors of a high-school newspaper are the way to go. Or Fox.

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  60. Gavrilo says:

    First of all, George Stephanopolous is supposed to be a jounalist. ABC News promotes him as a journalist, and has, for 15 years, pushed back against the right’s criticism of his former political career. The shows he hosts, This Week and GMA, fall under the news division and, as such, are supposed to follow ABC’s journalistic standards. Even the fluff interviews on GMA are supposed to follow those standards. Third, it boggles the mind that George Stephanopolous would even conduct an interview (a hostile one no less) with a guy who wrote a book critical of a charity that he gave $75k to, even with a disclosure. How the hell does ABC News now try to tell us that he’s politically objective, when he wasn’t even objective enough to say, “Hey, since I gave a shit-ton of cash to this charity, maybe someone else should do this interview?”

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  61. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You replied to Neil then said “Back OT – have we entered some alternate reality where “Good Morning America” and “This Week” constitute actual journalism?” Then Jenos replied to you, and you replied to Jenos, calling his comment a dodge.

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  62. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Moosebreath: That’s because it’s only true in the cases of politicians who are named “Clinton.” Don’t believe me? Ask Jenos, he can tell you “the truth (patent pending).”

    By the way, kudos to Jenos for derailing the thread and to Harvard Law 92 for failing to follow his own maxim: DFFT.

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  63. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky:

    The whole point is that ABC has blurred the distinction between journalism, entertainment, and commentary.

    This just in: rain is wet! Back to you Pinky!

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  64. Cd6 says:

    Following this same logic, should we expect Fox News to withdrawal from any republican primary debates, given that at least some of the candidates (Huckabee, Carson?) used to draw paychecks there?

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  65. ElizaJane says:

    Since Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp gave over half a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, I was assuming that the entire Fox network would not cover Clinton’s candidacy in any way.

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  66. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: ABCNews considers its stupid early morning talk shows where some bimbo interviews some housewife breast cancer survivor about her extry-special cinnamon-chip cookies and her 15-pound cat to be “news.”

    I’m not responsible for whatever idiotic patting-itself-on-the-back US TV networks do. For all of them, if you held up a candle to the ear of any of their so-called reporters and looked in, you’d see a tiny sign saying “space for rent.”

    There’s a reason why I read the Financial Times, Le Monde and The Economist for my news.

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  67. Pinky says:

    The news of the donations, which were first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and Politico,…

    From The Free Beacon, about the story:

    The Free Beacon contacted ABC News on Wednesday afternoon to request comment on George Stephanopoulos’s previously undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation. [ABC News spokeswoman Heather] Riley emailed later that night: “I was just forwarded your email about George.I’m going to send you something…Want to make sure you get it in time.”

    Riley later told the Free Beacon she would talk to Stephanopoulos and deliver a statement by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The statement did not arrive until 9:40 a.m., about 15 minutes after POLITICO published its “scoop” about the donations. “Here you go,” Riley wrote in the email.

    From The Free Beacon, about Heather Riley:

    Heather Riley, spokeswoman for ABC News programs Good Morning America and This Week, worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is a member of the Facebook group “(Bill) Clinton Administration Alumni.” White House records show that Riley’s duties included serving as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

    Prior to joining ABC News, Riley worked at MSNBC, CNN, and as a senior director of brand communications for Rodale, Inc., the publishing company best known for wellness magazines such as Men’s Health. Rodale also published former Vice President Al Gore’s best-selling global warming book, An Inconvenient Truth.

    Rodale, Inc., and its charitable foundation have donated between $20,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, records show. The Rodale family contributed at least $5,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns between 2005 and 2008.

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  68. stonetools says:

    @Cd6:

    Following this same logic, should we expect Fox News to withdrawal from any republican primary debates, given that at least some of the candidates (Huckabee, Carson?) used to draw paychecks there?

    Nope, because :

    IOKIYAR.

    Every.Damned.Time.
    The Republicans have an entire network of hacks ( a few who self identify as journalists) who spout right wing propoganda morning, noon , and night, and I should be concerned that George Stephanoulos might be biased because he donated to the Clinton Foundation( like, for example, Donald Trump , and the owner of Newsmax)?

    I will say the right wing BS machine proves again that it can generate false outrage and misdirection on a galactic scale. Kudos to the best propoganda network since Goebbels.

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  69. aFloridian says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I get what you’re saying – in your very strict interpretation, none of the aforementioned sources are journalism – the morning shows are light pop culture fair, no more “journalism” than a morning commute radio show.

    I think in that strict sense, you’re right. I literally watch ZERO TV news – the closest I come is NPR on the radio. And they are one of the gold standards when I think of “journalism.” Yes, they definitely have a liberal bias that shines through in various ways (i.e. it’s obvious that the reports/hosts are personally politically liberal) but still try hard to maintain objectivity and ask tough questions.

    None of the stuff I see on TV really does that. It’s all opinions and “experts” and sensational headlines. But it’s still “journalism” under the modern conception unless it is out-and-out clear it’s a commentary show (like Hannity, O’Reilly, and Olbermann once upon a time) meant more for infotainment. Important to remember even there plenty of people call that “watching the news” but you and I know that’s not true.

    But I absolutely disagree that morning shows like GMA and Today are not journalism. Not hard-hitting, no, but it’s a show with anchors, interviews, and purports to tell the stories we want to hear. It’s like country music. A far different, watered down thing from yesteryear, but that’s what the people are drinking now.

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  70. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Who do you consider an actual journalist that meets your standards of journalism?
    Can you name a news network, a news program, and a journalist that you consider to be unbiased?

    I’ll open those questions up to the peanut gallery.

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  71. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: I don’t particularly feel like getting into that debate, but I feel comfortable in saying that we all seem to agree that no way in hell should Stephy be considered a “journalist.” And that ABC, in presenting him as one, is totally discrediting themselves.

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  72. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I don’t know exactly what passes the purity test. The ABC News With Karl Rove cross-examining a critic of Bush, or grilling Democratic candidates about partial-birth abortion, wouldn’t pass.

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  73. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I’m pretty sure I know why.

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  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @ElizaJane: Since Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp gave over half a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, I was assuming that the entire Fox network would not cover Clinton’s candidacy in any way.

    Here we’re talking about an individual, not a corporation. And an individual who really should have disclosed his own conflict of interest in defending the foundation to which he’d personally given — well over a year’s income for an average family.

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  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Yeah, because it’s not the topic, and we’d be arguing about shades of gray. In Stephy’s case, it was black and white.

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  76. Pinky says:

    @Pinky: Now you’ve got me wondering if you’d ever frame another debate this way. Campaign finance? Would you tell us that money always influences politics, then ask us what campaign we would have approved of? International affairs? Would you say that every country has done bad things to women, so before we criticize Saudi Arabia we have to present a perfect example of women’s rights? It seems like you really stacked the deck on this.

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  77. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I think Eliza is saying that corporations are no different than people when it comes to financing political campaigns.

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  78. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    Corporations are people, except when they are not, I guess.The “corporations are people” stuff didn’t fit this particular narrative that his handlers at Pajamas Media gave him, I guess. He has probably gone back for further instructions.

    Jenos is very carefully condemning Stephanapoulos for a possible conflict of interest.Meanwhile, the entire Fox NewsCorp “news” staff, however described, is as nakedly partisan as anyone could ever want.I guess he thinks we somehow will ignorethe actual conduct of Fox News staff if he yells “Conflict!” loudly enough.

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  79. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Oh, look, Jenos is trashing someone who accomplished something. What a shock!

    Remember, folks, the only way to stay pure is to never, never, never attempt to accomplish anything in your life other than sniping anonymously on the internet.

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  80. wr says:

    @Pinky: ” Actually, as he was the one to post first, and you came along and agreed with him in an adversarial way, aren’t you the one in this case who was arguing for the sake of argument?”

    Yes, let’s all congratulate Pinky for getting down to what’s really important in the world — “No, YOU argued with HIM.”

    Speaking as one who is perfectly capable of getting himself mired in pointless arguments on the internet, I have to say this is probably the single dumbest and dullest argument in history. Pinky should feel proud.

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  81. wr says:

    @Pinky: Oh, noes… ABC news, like every thinking human being on the planet, fails to take the Washington Free Beacon seriously. Get your conservative self-pity engines revving!!!!

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  82. wr says:

    What’s hilarious is that none of the right wing whiners here can point to a single instance of Stephanopolous showing a liberal bias in any of his programs. That’s because he spends most of his time fawning over right wingers like George Will and Matthew Dowd, hosts a “roundtable” that almost every week has conservatives outnumbering liberals, panders to insane right wingers in profiles, continues to run the work of right wing hatchet man Jonathan Karl…

    So go ahead, little cry babies — if GS is so terribly biased, why not show us the bias?

    Oh, except for Jenos, whose sole concern is what title GS is given.

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  83. Pinky says:

    @wr: I didn’t know I had to present evidence, but you should check out the interview with the author of Clinton Cash and tell me if you think it’s objective.

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  84. Pinky says:

    @wr: No, it’s not the most important thing in the world. But ?Harvard was so insistent that (1) he was disagreeing with Jenos and (2) that Jenos had started it that it seemed worth noting that neither point was true.

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  85. Pinky says:

    @wr:

    ABC news, like every thinking human being on the planet, fails to take the Washington Free Beacon seriously.

    That’s interesting. The story here is that the guys at the Free Beacon did what reputable reporters do, and the guys at ABC didn’t. You should recalibrate who you take seriously.

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  86. Pinky says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really excited about Go Garden Club!

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  87. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: @wr: I’ve been hearing the same argument lately, except about football underinflation. Of course they do it, everyone does it, you can’t prove they did it, and doing it doesn’t have any effect. It’s tough to argue all four simultaneously.

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  88. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    Well, you didn’t hear those arguments from me, bub. FWIW, I think the penalty meted out by the NFL was , if anything, too light. To be honest, though, I really didn’t care.
    In this case, I am quite clear that George S. is no better and no worse than George Will, Maureen Dowd, or any of the various bobbleheads. I find it laughable that people are shocked, shocked! that he would donate to the Clintons. It’s interesting that you can’t cite with references any examples of pro-Clinton bias, other than a general reference to Schwiezer, who has been pilloried by everyone. I guess evidence is for liberals.Conservatives can just get away with airy accusations.

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  89. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Good Morning America and This Week are both productions of ABC News, so it’s clear that ABC News considers them part of journalism.

    Well, ABC also classifies “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Celebrity Wife Swap” as “Reality” TV. So does anyone really take ABC’s definition of journalism seriously?

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  90. Moderate Mom says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ding, Ding, Ding! Someone FINALLY stated the obvious. We do largely no longer journalists. Instead, we have entertainers and commenters. Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite and Mudd are all spinning in their graves.

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  91. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: No examples? I gave one. No examples other than the one I gave? OK, the contraception question in the debate. No other examples other than those two? Give me a minute to look up some more. Eh, you can get to Google, you can do it yourself.

    But what really gets me about that Clinton Cash interview is that I recognize the song: it’s George Stephanopoulos singing “do you have proof at this moment that a Clinton committed a crime?”. I’ve heard that song before. I’ve heard it through impeachment, disbarment, public denials followed by public apologies followed by public denials of the apologies. Second verse, same as the first.

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  92. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here we’re talking about an individual, not a corporation. And an individual who really should have disclosed his own conflict of interest i

    Why should an individual have to disclose an conflict, and not a corporation? Please provide detail.

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  93. Moderate Mom says:

    I do find the situation somewhat amusing. George says he wanted to support the Foundation’s good work in areas like AIDS prevention and climate change and repeatedly said he was sorry for the lack of disclosure, “even though I did it to support those causes directly”.

    It seems like there are many more charities that provide more direct support to those causes George finds so important. And George finds those causes so important that he ponies up approximately $25,000 per year for the last three years to provide the much needed funds to make a difference in these causes by giving the money to the Clinton Foundation, rather than a charity that provides more direct aid. Wow.

    George makes a salary of approximately $9,000,00 a year with ABC News. His annual donations constituted approximately 0.003% of his annual income. It seems he would give more if he really found those causes so important.

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  94. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “For all of them, if you held up a candle to the ear of any of their so-called reporters and looked in, you’d see a tiny sign saying “space for rent.””

    And underneath, “Unfurnished”.

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  95. Andre Kenji says:

    I hate to agree with Mr. Jeca Idanian, but he is right. Stephanopoulos in fact is ABC News´ Chief anchor – he, not that guy that looks like Ross from Friends, that does Breaking News coverage for ABC.

    ABC News is not Fox. They should be hold to higher standards.

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  96. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    Are you saying that George S. was not a journalist because he asked hard questions of his guest? Maybe he should have fellated his guest with softball questions like Hannity does to his pet conservatives?
    I guess you and I have differing concepts of journalism.

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  97. stonetools says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    We do largely no longer journalists. Instead, we have entertainers and commenters. Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite and Mudd are all spinning in their graves.

    This is wrong. OK, Cronkite et al are dead, and the business case for investigative journalism isn’t great, but good and even great journalism is still happening. Cruise on over to the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism page and you’ll lots of examples of good journalism. Example:

    Awarded to the The Wall Street Journal Staff for “Medicare Unmasked,” a pioneering project that gave Americans unprecedented access to previously confidential data on the motivations and practices of their health care providers.

    and

    Awarded to Eric Lipton of The New York Times for reporting that showed how the influence of lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general, slanting justice toward the wealthy and connected

    So modern journalists are still kicking a$$. I do agree that there is a right wing BS machine that drowns out the good reporting that is happening out there.

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  98. stonetools says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    George makes a salary of approximately $9,000,00 a year with ABC News. His annual donations constituted approximately 0.003% of his annual income. It seems he would give more if he really found those causes so important.

    Heh, I think you guys have to get your stories straight. If the amount given is so insignificant, then what’s the problem? Surely George S couldn’t really be currying favor if he gave such a piddling amount?

    OTOH, if it’s a substantial amount, isn’t his charitable giving a good thing? Aren’t conservatives big on the idea that charitable giving should replace “gumint handouts?”

    I might point out that you know nothing of the extent of George S.’s charitable giving. Conservatives are having a hissy fit over this donation because they want to generate fake outrage over the “scandal” of charitable giving to the Clinton Foundation. For all you know, he gives millions to other, non-Clinton charities.

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  99. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Please provide detail.

    Please piss up a rope.

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  100. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Let’s go over what happened again. (Note that at no point does Fox News enter the story.)

    A guy writes a book taking a very critical look at the Clinton Foundation and what appear, at first glance (and second and third glance), to be some quite flagrant quid pro quo arrangements that make it look like Hillary Clinton was taking bribes.

    The author goes on the standard tour of media interviews to promote his book.

    When it comes to George Stephy, the author finds himself thoroughly grilled in a quite hostile interview.

    The Washington Free Beacon does some digging, and found out that Stephy had given $50,000 to the Foundation over the past couple of years.

    The WFB contacts ABC News for a comment on the story.

    ABC News asks for a little time to prepare a proper statement.

    ABC News feeds the story to a friendly reporter at Politico, who puts out a story loaded with spin that makes ABC and Stephy look less bad.

    The WFB, realizing they got played by ABC News, immediately publishes its story, but has been scooped by Politico.

    Stephy apologizes for not disclosing his donations.

    Further investigation shows that Stephy’s donations actually totaled $75,000. Perhaps more; the Foundation has already admitted that it lied on its tax returns about a lot of donations to conceal their true sources.

    So it turns out that, in protecting their Chief Anchor and Chief Political Correspondent who broke ethics rules of journalism, ABC News also broke ethical rules in exploiting the WFB’s courtesy in asking for comment to feed the story to someone they knew would spin it to their liking.

    The lesson: don’t trust ABC News. Ever.

    And look, I got through the whole account without bringing up Fox News. Which shows that I have far more self control and focus and respect for the authors than the Usual Group Of Idiots who dominate the comments sections…

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  101. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: For all you know, he gives millions to other, non-Clinton charities.

    And for all you know, he gives millions to ISIS and the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation and NAMBLA.

    Ain’t groundless speculation fun?

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  102. wr says:

    @Moderate Mom: “Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite and Mudd are all spinning in their graves.”

    Of course, if you’d been around at the time, you would have been screaming that all four of these gentlemen were Godless commies trying to destroy the US for their reporting on Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement.

    But it’s okay, they’re dead now, so you can lionize them.

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  103. wr says:

    @Pinky: “But what really gets me about that Clinton Cash interview is that I recognize the song: it’s George Stephanopoulos singing “do you have proof at this moment that a Clinton committed a crime?”. I’ve heard that song before. I’ve heard it through impeachment, disbarment, public denials followed by public apologies followed by public denials of the apologies. Second verse, same as the first.”

    Right. And the answer is always the same: No.

    Which to you says the Clintons are evil, and to actual human beings says the accusers are desperately throwing feces hoping something will stick.

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  104. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Please piss up a rope.”

    And next up from the Jenos Wurlitzer:

    “I’m the only one making substantive arguments and other people are making personal attacks, which proves that I am good and wonderful and liberals all suck.”

    It’s always rerun season with little J!

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  105. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: I never claimed to be perfect, just better than you.

    And “better than you” is a ludicrously low standard.

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  106. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Shorter Jenos: I am willing to overlook to ignore and overlook Fox News’ hyperpartisanship and abandonment of even the pretense of objectivity in order to focus on this rather minor breach of journalistic ethics by the ABC- a breach that ABC has repaired, while said massive ongoing violations continue unremarked at Fox News et al.

    A guy writes a book taking a very critical look at the Clinton Foundation and what appear, at first glance (and second and third glance), to be some quite flagrant quid pro quo arrangements that make it look like Hillary Clinton was taking bribes.

    You do understand that this guy is a right wing hack, right? And that his book has been debunked by every reputable news organization that has reported on the book, right?

    The scandal that Republicans hoped would take down Hillary Clinton has already sputtered and fizzled as the media has largely debunked the book Clinton Cash as strong on allegations, but weak on facts.

    The main allegation is that Hillary Clinton was influenced by donations to The Clinton Foundation to use her position as Sec. of State to block the purchase of uranium mine.

    Time magazine noted that the allegation first reported in The New York Times was not supported with evidence, “The suggestion of outside influence over U.S. decisionmaking is based on little evidence — the allegations are presented as questions rather than proof. The deal’s approval was the result of an extensive interagency process that required the assent of at least nine different officials and agencies.”

    You might want want to consult media sources other than Pajamas Media. You might learn something. But then , you aren’t really interested in learning anything, so…

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  107. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. You’re actually citing Media Matters as your lead source?

    And you have the sheer chutzpah to call someone else a hack?

    And as far as the story collapsing… why is the Clinton Foundation having to go back and re-file its tax returns for at least five years? Could it be because, after Hillary agreed the Foundation would stop taking foreign money, they kept doing it? And to cover it up, they lied about the donations’ sources, concealing the foreign origins and presenting them as coming from domestic sources?

    When you’re dealing with figures on the up side of seven figures, mistakes like that simply don’t happen. Not that systemically. That was clearly done deliberately.

    As far as Fox News… they’re nowhere near the story. They’re off topic here. And while I realize that the commenters here have grown accustomed to hijacking an article to spin their own slop, but I don’t particularly feel like playing along with that.

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  108. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    They’re off topic here. And while I realize that the commenters here have grown accustomed to hijacking an article to spin their own slop, but I don’t particularly feel like playing along with that.

    Not many working irony meters left in the world after that one :)

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  109. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    ( Shrug) I am citing the sources linked to by Media Matters. It’s a bit harder to dismiss those sources, which is why you reference Media Matters, of course.

    nd as far as the story collapsing… why is the Clinton Foundation having to go back and re-file its tax returns for at least five years? Could it be because, after Hillary agreed the Foundation would stop taking foreign money, they kept doing it? And to cover it up, they lied about the donations’ sources, concealing the foreign origins and presenting them as coming from domestic sources?

    Point out the the actual law that the Clinton Foundation violated, other than a voluntary agreement it made with the Obama Administration. I’ll wait.

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  110. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Please piss up a rope.

    A simple “I’ve got nothing” would have sufficed.

    I have far more self control and focus and respect for the authors

    Really? When are you going to let it shine through for the rest of the class to see? At the moment, you sound petulant, whiny, gauche, and fact-free. (In other words, you sound like you)

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  111. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: At the moment, you sound petulant, whiny, gauche, and fact-free.

    Because at that moment, I was talking to you. As a courtesy, I was speaking to you in your native tongue.

    If you wanna actually discuss substance (is it a blue moon in a leap year?), you could explain how it was no great scandal that the Clinton Foundation spent years laundering donations from foreign sources, lying on their tax returns and claiming that they were from domestic sources. That could be REAL entertaining.

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  112. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If you have an actual case to make against the Clintons, make it. All you are doing at the moment is slinging scat. The right has been busy doing that in regards to the Clintons for over twenty years now, and nothing has stuck. People who live in the fact based universe lost interest and moved on long ago.

    What crime did the Clintons commit? If you don’t have an answer, I will leave you to play in your little sandbox by yourself.

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  113. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Point out the the actual law that the Clinton Foundation violated, other than a voluntary agreement it made with the Obama Administration. I’ll wait.

    How many times do I have to mention the several years of fraudulent tax returns before you actually notice it?

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  114. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    … and just when “if it’s not illegal, then it’s not wrong” become a rule? If it is, I got a whole bunch of past points I can bring up and use that argument. Plus, I see me using it a lot from here on.

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  115. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Except that the Clintons didn’t violate the law when it filed those returns. Those returns may have been inadequate to the terms of the agreement that the Foundation made with the Obama Administration. But they weren’t illegal and they weren’t fraudulent.

    So try again.

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  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: The Foundation lied on tax returns. Keep trying to spin that; it’s quite amusing.

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  117. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Fun fact: PolitiFact, whom you just cited, is largely funded by the Ford Foundation, which is also a major donor and partner of the Clinton Foundation.

    Ain’t it nice how one hand washes the other?

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  118. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We aren’t comparing HRC to Jesus Christ or George Washington, but to Republican presidential candidates who are directly selling themselves to billionaires and private corporations under God knows what terms., so sorry if I don’t see HRC’s conduct as ” wrong” under some standard made by RWNJs that applies only to the Clintons and not other presidential nominees.

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  119. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: We aren’t comparing HRC to Jesus Christ or George Washington, but to Republican presidential candidates who are directly selling themselves to billionaires and private corporations under God knows what terms.

    Yes, you are. I’m not. I’m not going down that diversion.

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  120. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If you have proof of the Clintons lying on their returns, in a way that constitutes fraud , which is a breach of the law, please link to it. Otherwise, that which is asserted without evidence will simply be dismissed as a bogus claim.

    PolitiFact, whom you just cited, is largely funded by the Ford Foundation, which is also a major donor and partner of the Clinton Foundation.

    So? Do you have any evidence that Politifact is in fact partial in its treatment of the Clintons? I can link to Politifact articles critical of the Clintons as evidence that they aren’t carrying water for the Clintons, so I’d be interested to see your evidence.

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  121. Moderate Mom says:

    @wr: One one hand, it’s like you’re in my mind, knowing exactly what I think of the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. On the other hand, I could have just been agreeing with what HarvardLaw92 wrote, since my reply was to one of his comments. You are such a tool.

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  122. anjin-san says:

    @stonetools:

    If you have proof of the Clintons lying on their returns, in a way that constitutes fraud , which is a breach of the law, please link to it.

    Well, he did bold his claims. Oh wait, you are saying you want actual proof? Good luck with that :)

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  123. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Heh, so comparing HRC to her real world competitors is considered a diversion in wingnut world. Typical. Let’s look at Marco Rubio:

    While he campaigned for speaker, Rubio created a political committee to fund his travel and help other Republicans and earn their support. Records show the bulk of the money went to office and administrative costs. His wife managed the books from home in West Miami.

    In an 18-month period Rubio spent nearly $90,000 on political consultants, $51,000 for credit card payments. He contributed only $4,000 to candidates. Reporting by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald revealed Rubio failed to disclose $34,000 in expenses.

    He formed another committee and more big spending on consultants came. Then Rubio got access to another cash source: a credit card issued by the Republican Party of Florida. He charged more than $100,000 from November 2006 to November 2008, mainly for travel and meals. At one point he charged $1,000 for repairs to his family minivan that he said was damaged by parking attendants at a political function.

    Rubio insists he did not personally gain. He blames mistakes on being unprepared for all the paperwork, and on sloppiness. “For example, I pulled the wrong card from my wallet to pay for pavers,” he wrote. Another time, “my travel agent mistakenly used the card to pay for a family reunion in Georgia.”

    “Each time, I identified the charges and paid the costs myself, directly to American Express. The Republican Party of Florida didn’t pay a single one of them. Nevertheless, in hindsight, I wish that none of them had ever been charged.”

    In 2012, the Florida Commission on Ethics dismissed a citizen complaint, based on news reports, that Rubio misused Republican and campaign money “to subsidize his lifestyle.”

    A full accounting of Rubio’s use of the American Express card is not known because he never released statements from 2005 and 2006. (The others were leaked to reporters.)

    By 2005, Rubio was swimming in debt — more than $1 million due to mortgages on three homes, student loans and other obligations.

    No wonder he recently went, hat in hand, to various billionaires begging for them to donate to his PAC.

    As Mr. Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, Mr. Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unique patron. He has bankrolled Mr. Rubio’s campaigns. He has financed Mr. Rubio’s legislative agenda. And, at the same time, he has subsidized Mr. Rubio’s personal finances, as the rising politician and his wife grappled with heavy debt and big swings in their income.

    Now, with Mr. Rubio vaulting ahead of much of the Republican presidential field, Mr. Braman is poised to play an even larger part and become Mr. Rubio’s single biggest campaign donor, with an expected outlay of approximately $10 million for the senator’s pursuit of the White House.

    But hey, let’s look at charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation, because SQUIRREL!

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  124. anjin-san says:

    @ stonetools

    I’m a little surprised that Jenos even has time to comment. After all, because of Obama’s incompetence Ebola, I mean ISIS, ummm, errrr, something is going to kill us all.

    In other news, George Zimmermann is a stand up guy who just wanted to help keep his neighborhood safe.

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  125. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The comments are quite enlightening. Where is the line drawn for liberals about the conduct of politicians? If they can find a Republican somewhere, anywhere, who did something vaguely similar, then it’s OK.

    Now I understand why liberals love calling conservatives “hypocrites.” It’s because they can’t be accused of it in return. That’s a definite advantage in not having any principles or ethics — you can’t be accused of violating them.

    To repeat, Stephy told Jon Stewart that no one gives money to the Clintons without expecting something in return, and quite a few donors to the Clinton Foundation got quite favorable treatment from the federal government while Hillary was Secretary of State. Quite an exceptionally odd coincidence…

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  126. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The comments are quite enlightening. Where is the line drawn for liberals about the conduct of politicians?

    I’ve been trying not to think about the answer to that question. The word “dishonorable” keeps coming to mind. I think we got here in three steps. First, there was Nixon, who lied to us and we didn’t expect it. We were rightly offended, and his own party helped throw him out. Then came Bill Clinton, and he lied to us, but he was so good at it we just enjoyed watching him do it. Now we’re in the Obama age. He sleepwalks through his lies because he knows that nothing has any consequences. This is what Arendt called “the banality of evil”. It’s not a question any more of whether the left will excuse the immoral, the illegal. It doesn’t even occur to so many of them to even check whether what they’re excusing is wrong. Once the feminists rallied around a powerful man who had sex with his intern, and official Washington rallied around him as he lied about it to a judge, and the American people permitted it as he lied to them, then apologized, and denied that he’d done anything wrong or that he was even apologizing, well, after all that, it’s just negotiating the price.

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  127. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Yup Pinky, it’s a liberal phenomenon. Good thing conservatives don’t play politics and excuse the actions of their own while decrying the actions of their political opponents.

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  128. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    First, there was Nixon, who lied to us

    Ah, so lying was the extent of Nixon’s sins? You never heard about the sabotage of the ’68 peace talks? The secret bombing of Cambodia? Kent State? Watergate?

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  129. wr says:

    @anjin-san: Don’t upset Pinky with difficult concepts. You can see he’s just figuring out that grown ups sometimes don’t tell the truth and it’s very upsetting to him.

    Once he gets into fourth grade he can start to learn the difference between “lying to deny consensual extramarital sex” and “lying to cover up the illegal bombing of a sovereign nation.”

    Right now he’s still grappling with “truth – good, lie-bad.”

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  130. anjin-san says:

    @wr:

    “lying to deny consensual extramarital sex”

    It’s a funny thing. Usually the idea of anyone, anywhere having sex drives conservatives around the bend. Yet there seems to be a loophole for powerful white men having sex with underlings. But somehow, Clinton did not quality for the exemption.

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  131. Pinky says:

    No, I didn’t say that Nixon’s only sin was that of lying. Nor did I say that Clinton’s only sin was sexual (although I won’t apologize for having standards and expectations about sexual morality). I specifically said that the feminist movement was hypocritical for supporting a powerful man who had sex with an intern half his age. Nor did I say that only liberals had fallen – you’ll note that my first example was Nixon. So, that’s 0 for 3 on specifics.

    As for the general theme of my comment, it was about lying, so I didn’t go off on a discussion of sex drives or Kent State. That means you guys missed both the specifics of the comment and the overall theme. If you three are forming a Reading Comprehension Team, you should think about choosing someone else as the leader.

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  132. bill says:

    @Tony W: fox isn’t one of the “big 3” networks that get the most viewers – and abc should be “fair and balanced” instead of pandering to the audience. that snuffleuppagus is on gma is funny, that he could be an actual anchorman is not.

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  133. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The comments are quite enlightening. Where is the line drawn for liberals about the conduct of politicians? If they can find a Republican somewhere, anywhere, who did something vaguely similar, then it’s OK.

    Actually, the Republicans are doing, if anything, much worse, by directly soliciting secret contributions from billionaires and big corporations. So the Clintons are still doing better than Rubio et al.
    Besides, policy matters. Clinton and the Democrats actually want to rein in the influence of big money in politics. Clinton has said she wants Citizens United overturned , and it is that case that opened the floodgates to big money in politics. The Republicans, however, love Citizens United and base their fundraising specifically on big secret contributions to PACs. Policy matters, mate , and the Republican policy would institutionalize corruption by big money.
    All of this is simply a distraction from the central truth : the Democrats are the party of sane policy and the Republicans are the party of insane policy (“Down with gays!Kick the poors! Go to war with Iran! Deport 11 million brown people! Screw the environment! Global warming is a lie!,”etc.). That hasn’t changed a whit , despite these allegations.

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  134. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: So the Clintons are still doing better than Rubio et al.

    Let’s sum up. Hillary pledged that while she was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation would not accept donations from foreign governments, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The foundation instead did continue to take donations from foreign governments, but to keep anyone from noticing, claimed on their tax returns that the donations came from other sources (euphemistically calling the laundering “undrereporting” and “overreporting”). Once HIllary was safely out of office and this guy started investigating the mess, the Foundation then submitted tax returns with the correct amounts credited to the correct sources, and longtime Clinton crony used his position as ABC News Chief Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent to attack the author, without revealing his own hefty donations to the Foundation.

    Oh, and it turns out that a lot of those “underreported” donors had business that depended upon favorable reception at the State Department, and they benefited greatly from getting favorable treatment from the Department of State.

    That’s a whole lot of smoke there. Enough to remind one of the Choom Gang.

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  135. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, and it turns out that a lot of those “underreported” donors had business that depended upon favorable reception at the State Department, and they benefited greatly from getting favorable treatment from the Department of State.

    That is what you and everyone else making hay of this have entirely failed to show.

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  136. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: That is what you and everyone else making hay of this have entirely failed to show.

    You mean something like this?

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  137. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    So the state department was one of several departments that signed off on the deal. Do you really think that the donations to the Clinton Foundation were why the deal went through? Do you have any evidence that Clinton lobbied anyone in state or out to support the deal? Anything at all other than insinuation?

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  138. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    The word “dishonorable” keeps coming to mind.

    But of course GW Bush, the man who started the disastrous Iraq war to keep the world safe for Halliburton profits, did not come to mind.

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  139. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: It’s clear that, if you wanted favorable treatment from the Clinton State Department, giving money to Hillary, Bill, and the Foundation certainly didn’t hurt. And it’s also clear that the Foundation had a habit of “underreporting” donations from such people and groups, “accidentally” crediting those donations to other, less potentially controversial sources, so any indications of a quid pro quo would be “inadvertently” concealed from scrutiny.

    Sounds like a damned good reason to do an investigation, to see what else might have been “unintentionally” (and remarkably conveniently) concealed.

    So yeah, no actual fire has been found. But how long you gonna keep pretending there isn’t all that smoke?

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  140. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You’re remarkably concerned about the influence of charity donations on political candidates for a guy that couldn’t care less about Adelson, et. al. literally purchasing candidates for your team.

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  141. wr says:

    @Pinky: ” I specifically said that the feminist movement was hypocritical for supporting a powerful man who had sex with an intern half his age”

    This may shock you, but many feminists believe that an adult woman has both the ability and the freedom to make her own choices, even concerning sexual practices. Also, many feminists do not believe that sex is icky or scary, as you seem to. Also, many feminists are able to draw a distinction between a political leader’s personal life and what he does for the country.

    So really, you claim feminists were hypocritical because they failed to live up to your values system, which is certainly an odd definition of the word.

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  142. wr says:

    @anjin-san: Bush may have deliberately lied in order to start a war on false pretenses, leading to the deaths of thousands of Americans and uncountable Iraqis, the loss of trillions of dollars, and what looks to be decades of global chaos, but he (as far as we know) kept his dick in his pants. To Pinky, that is honorable.

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  143. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s clear that, if you wanted favorable treatment from the Clinton State Department, giving money to Hillary, Bill, and the Foundation certainly didn’t hurt.

    That is nothing more than argument by insinuation. A lot of digging has already been done and no evidence has surfaced that giving money to the foundation helped get favorable treatment by state.
    You seem very concerned that money given to the Clinton foundations or given to them as speaking fees has or will lead to unduly favorable treatment by Hillary in office. Why is it you have evidenced absolutely no concern of this undue influence of money when it comes to the billions in dark money being funneled into SuperPACs? There is considerably less accounting there and considerably more money to corrupt and give undue influence to contributors. Why does the one get you up in arms and the other one garner your support?

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  144. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Sorry, I forgot one more thing. Hillary, from day one at State, set up her own private e-mail server, that wouldn’t be covered by government accountability and records-keeping requirements, and used that to conduct all her official business. When asked if she or anyone else was using private e-mail for official business, she stonewalled, and then later wiped the server clean. After, of course, her aides had gone through all her correspondence, pulled out any that they said were official, and turned them over in the incredibly inconvenient, carbon-wasteful, and un-searchable hard copy.

    So yeah, nothing conclusive. But suspicious as hell.

    Remember Hillary was on the staff investigating Watergate. She obviously learned Nixon’s lesson — destroy the evidence.

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  145. Pinky says:

    I used to joke that the Bill Clinton response to each scandal was, “I didn’t do it, the Republicans made me do it, I’m proud of having done it, and now that I’ve apologized why can’t we just move on?” I like Grewgills’

    “a lot of digging has already been done”

    comment. Has it? A lot of it? We’re being told to move on now that it’s over, but I’m not sure it is.

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  146. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    In other words you’ve got nothing.

    You are right on one point though. It’s not over yet. Darryl Issa hasn’t had his long and fruitless investigation yet.

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  147. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: You’re right. Hillary said she and her staff thoroughly investigated her, and found she had done nothing wrong. So case closed.

    That’s good enough for you, right?

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