Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, seems to be a victim of the law of unintended consequences. His book lays out, in lurid detail, what it claims in its subtitle: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. And it must be said, coverage in the media has generally been favorable: Even publications prone to admire the Clintons (the New York Times, for example) have treated with respect Schweizer’s chapter-and-verse account of corruption and influence-peddling in Clintonland.
But while Clinton Cash may or may not influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign, its most prominent victim, thus far, has not been Hillary or Bill Clinton but their old friend and sometime colleague George Stephanopoulos. And truth to tell, Stephanopoulos has only himself to blame: When, in late April, he conducted a distinctly hostile interview with Schweizer on his program, This Week, the onetime Clinton political operative and senior White House staffer failed to mention that, during the past three years, he had contributed some $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
When the Washington Free Beacon revealed this conflict of interest, Stephanopoulos was obliged to go on the air and apologize—in fact, apologize twice—for failing to disclose this professional impropriety to his employer, ABC News, much less the public.
Accordingly, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for Stephanopoulos and ABC. To be sure, the fact that Stephanopoulos contributed such a princely sum to the Clintons while “covering” the news about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy could have meant the end of another journalist’s career. But as Carole Simpson, Stephanopoulos’s former ABC colleague, has explained, “he really isn’t a journalist”—-although ABC News is heavily invested in him. Since joining the network’s news division directly from the Clinton White House in the late 1990s, George Stephanopoulos has evolved from one of several “political commentators” to his current exalted status as chief anchor of ABC News, co-anchor of Good Morning America, host of the aforementioned This Week, and chief political correspondent of ABC News.
Nice work if you can get it, especially since it has been reported that Stephanopoulos recently signed a new seven-year, $105 million employment contract.
At this point, The Scrapbook must declare its mystification. Yes, it is appalling that Stephanopoulos would regard his belated admission of unethical behavior as (in his words) “going the extra mile.” But is it surprising? It is not as though George Stephanopoulos fell unexpectedly from the heavens last week into the studio, or that his longstanding intimate relations with the Clintons had been disguised.
It is good, The Scrapbook concedes, that this is now subject to public discussion. But what took so long?