By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

George Stephanopoulos has (had) a secret

Funny. Just yesterday I was discussing with my students why journalists don’t give money to politicians. Of course, George Stephanopoulos only plays one on TV.

Dylan Byers of Politico reports that Stephanopoulos has donated $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation. He notes:

Stephanopoulos never disclosed this information to viewers, even when interviewing author Peter Schweizer last month about his book “Clinton Cash,” which alleges that donations to the Foundation may have influenced some of Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State.

So far ABC News says it’s standing behind Stephanopoulos. It’s certainly not a Brian Williams-level transgression, but there’s no question that this is unethical and that he deprived viewers of important information. (And to be clear: Disclosure is necessary but insufficient. He never should have given the money in the first place.)

Will he be able to brazen it out? Probably. The fact that he was donating to a politically wired charity rather than to a political campaign will help. But still.

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  1. Good point re disclosure being necessary but not necessarily sufficient, Dan.

  2. Other news organizations have given to the CF – NewsCorp (aka Fox) and Newsmax among them. Do they owe disclaimers as well when they talk about the CF?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Steve: Imagine a journalist interviewing someone about a major political controversy involving the Clinton Foundation without disclosing that he himself had donated $50,000. But you don’t have to imagine it — that’s what George Stephanopoulos did. Why bother to drag others into it?

      • Yes, I don’t mean to absolve Stephanopoulos one bit. But Fox and Newsmax also discuss the Clinton Foundation. Should there also be a disclosure from them?

        • Dan Kennedy

          That’s a good question. Publishers and owners routinely engage in behavior that journalists are ethically bound not to engage in, and there’s generally no need to disclose it. Plus: NewsMax? Seriously?

  3. Rick Camillo

    This is worse than Brian Williams in my opinion. He was just a blow hard trying to make himself look more involved in the stories he covered, This is definitely worth a little suspension as well

  4. tobe berkovitz

    The political-media-digital-complex.

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