ABC News and George Stephanopoulos have a credibility problem with conservatives and Middle America. And it seems to be getting worse.
It’s not just that ABC News hired Bill Clinton’s White House spokesman and counselor George Stephanopoulos as a journalist; it’s that the pack mentality at ABC News doesn’t see it as a problem.
“The planning meetings [at ABC News] have little political diversity. Everyone is left of center and at ease with their liberal ideals. The other viewpoint is rarely raised and never fully represented,” a current ABC News producer told me last week.
And this week is a perfect example of the problem. Stephanopoulos opened Good Morning America the morning after Congressman Anthony Weiner’s press conference clearly feeling sorry for Weiner and dismissing the negative media coverage. Stephanopoulos went on to interview Democratic activist and close friend James Carville on Weiner’s Twitter troubles and asked, “What’s illegal, if anything?” Carville responded to his friend in agreement. While NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s Early Show interviewed Andrew Breitbart, the man who broke the Weiner story, Stephanopoulos’s team at Good Morning America never reached out to the conservative to request an interview.
But this week’s bias is certainly not unique for ABC News. Stephanopoulos currently has an ABCNews.com story running where he interviews his buddy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and gives this prediction: “After serving in two administrations and becoming a top Democrat in the House, if Emanuel does a good job as mayor Democrats will talk about him for a 2016 presidential run.” Stephanopoulos also interviewed Emanuel last week and titled the article “Rahm Emanuel: President Obama ‘consistent’ on Israel.”
The week before, Stephanopoulos “interviewed” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and gave her nothing but softball questions. He didn’t even give her one follow-up question after she dismissed the criticism over rapper Common’s White House invite.
But the bias at ABC News doesn’t stop with just political-activist-turned-journalist Stephanopoulos. Obama White House Spokesman Jay Carney is married to ABC News reporter Claire Shipman. Shipman regularly reports for ABC World News Tonight and Good Morning America on political issues with no mention to the viewers that she is married to the Obama White House spokesman. The morning after the memorial service for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Shipman criticized Sarah Palin on Good Morning America for comments interpreted by the left as inciting and encouraging violence. Shipman produced former Clinton White House strategist and Democratic activist Paul Begala to weigh in on the controversy and then showed a Keith Olbermann attack video (her husband was Vice President Biden’s spokesman at the time). Perhaps more troubling, the ABC News website currently erroneously claims that Carney doesn’t work at the White House. Shipman’s bio reads: “Shipman, a Columbus, Ohio, native, now resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Time magazine White House correspondent Jay Carney.” Not disclosing their reporters’ relationships with Obama administration officials is clearly not an issue for ABC News.