Richard Greene

Stephanopoulos exposes bias in network commentary again

ABC News' chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, left, interviews Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in  2014.
ABC News' chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, left, interviews Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. AP

One of the Democrats’ favorite commentators, George Stephanopoulos, has now apologized three times to his massive audience for his most recent ethics violation.

By the time you read this, he may have said he is sorry some more.

You may already know that, but here’s something you probably don’t: Stephanopoulos and I share a common experience.

We both left the political arena in 1997 and, much to the chagrin of journalists in the watchdog business, entered the media realm.

Stephy, as some call him, was fresh out of the Clinton White House when ABC News put him to work as an analyst.

I joined the Star-Telegram as a columnist in the Arlington newsroom and member of the Editorial Board, which crafted the newspaper’s opinions on issues and public policy.

That’s the full extent of our commonality, as our futures took very different paths. My role at the newspaper never changed. The promise from the Star-Telegram brass that I would not be involved in news decisions was never broken.

Meanwhile, over at ABC, assurances that Stephanopoulos would not be involved in news reporting were soon to be abandoned.

Concerns voiced by the highly respected Ted Koppel, among others, as to whether George could be fair and objective were but a forecast of what unfolded as he became the face of ABC News.

I wrote a commentary about him the year his tell-all book was released, in which he described his remarkable experiences with President Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The youthful member of the Clinton “war room” was as close as anyone to all that happened in his boss’s campaigns and the scandals that characterized his presidency.

His 456-page tome appears much as a revelation of the compulsion of the Clintons to hide the truth of corruption and wrongdoing that went down during their occupancy of the White House.

Everything ranging from the Whitewater scandal that landed close associates of Bill and Hillary in prison (President Clinton would pardon them on his last day in office) to what George called “bimbo eruptions” was covered in the greatest of detail.

My impression was that Stephanopoulos had unburdened his soul from what he described as a first person account of “spinmeistering,” being an enabler in an amazingly regular occurrence of deceit and lying.

I should have, in hindsight, not been so silly. I should have read the last pages of his book, where he describes his parting moment with Hillary: “This was our private good-bye. She gave me a hug, then held at arm’s length for an extra second, a hand on each of my shoulders, her eyes shining.”

Hillary: “I love you, George Stephanopoulos.”

George: “I love you too.”

Such shared feelings clearly signal that, when it comes to the Clintons, he has no objectivity. Now some, including journalists who worked inside the network, have declared that Stephanopoulos has forfeited all trust as a news analyst.

I have no clue whether ABC will do the same with him as NBC and CBS have done with news anchors Brian Williams and Dan Rather. I’m not sure if I even care.

There are plenty of others to carry on the network’s policy of putting those who believe in larger government and ever-diminishing individual freedom right in our faces.

What the episode has done is to further expose the outrageous liberal bias among the mainstream news networks. It’s been that way for a very long time, and there are no signs it’s going to change.

Hopefully, Stephanopoulos’ troubles will remind us all that the super-rich news celebrities we so faithfully watch cannot be trusted to deliver their reports free of partisan prejudice.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com

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