Peter Schweizer says Stephanopoulos still has not fully disclosed Clinton Foundation ties to viewers

In a hard-hitting column for USA Today, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer takes on George Stephanopoulos and ABC News, calling them our for continuing to obfuscate ties to the Clinton Foundation by the network’s chief newsman. He lays it on the line in frank language:

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

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

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

“Hidden hand journalism” is a devastating expression that pretty well sums up the fatal flaw in Stephanopoulos’s coverage of the forthcoming presidential race. Perhaps even worse, the cover-up continues:

And even though he has apologized to his viewers for keeping this information from both his audience and his bosses, there is much that Stephanopoulos has yet to disclose to his viewers. Indeed, far from being a passive donor who strokes Clinton Foundation checks from afar, a closer look reveals that Stephanopoulos is an ardent and engaged Clinton Foundation advocate.

For example, in his on air apology for this ethical mess, Stephanopoulos did not disclose that in 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).


He did not disclose that in 2007, he was a featured attendee at the CGI annual meeting, a gathering also attended by several individuals I report on in Clinton Cash, including mega Clinton Foundation donors Lucas Lundin, Frank Giustra, Frank Holmes, and Carlos Slim — individuals whose involvement with the Clintons I assumed he had invited me on his program to discuss.

Stephanopoulos did not disclose that he was a 2008 panelist at the CGI annual meeting which, once again, featured individuals I report on in the book, such as billionaire Clinton Foundation foreign donor Denis O'Brien.

ABC's most visible news employee did not disclose that in 2009, he served as a panel moderator at CGI's annual meeting, nor did he disclose that in 2010 and 2011, he was an official CGI member.

Stephanopoulos did not disclose that in 2013 and 2014, he and Chelsea Clinton served as CGI contest judges for awards, in part, underwritten by Laureate International Universities — a for-profit education company I report on in the book. Bill Clinton was on its payroll until his recent resignation.

That does sound like a lot of involvement to leave off the table when coming clean to viewers and apologizing. Hard to cover an institution objectively when you are so closely held to its bosom. ABC, however, is airily dismissing any concerns and dummying up over further questions:

I asked ABC News about the fact that this information was yet to be disclosed to ABC viewers, and mostly they avoided my questions, releasing a statement that reads in full, "Yes, George made us aware that he was moderating these panels and that is absolutely within our guidelines. We know that he would be listed as a member — as all moderators are. He is in good company of scores of other journalists that have moderated these panels."



That last bit is supposed to reassure us. But all it does is make the case that the Clintons have thoroughly coopted a good chunk of American elite journalists.

ABC News has got a big problem on its hands, and it seems to think “Trust us” will work as a response. But for a good chunk of the American public, hidden hand journalism is not good enough.