George Stephanopoulos In Crisis Communications Mode | Media Training

George Stephanopoulos is in the firing line for revelations that he gave $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation and is now, ostensibly, in the tank for Hillary, since he was also the communications director for Bill Clinton.

Here are the facts:

Fox News Channel’s parent company gives money to the Clinton foundation

Newsmax, the extreme right wing web site give money to the Clinton Foundation.

Practically anyone who has ever been on or met Charlie Rose, has given to the Clinton Foundation.

Other curious facts:

Stephanopoulos wrote a tell-all during the 2nd half of the Clinton Administration and became persona non grata in the Clinton camp.

ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer was a top communications official for Richard Nixon.

NBC’s Pete Williams was a spokesperson for the George H. W. Bush Pentagon and then went back to network news.

Those are the facts, but I’m not sure the facts matter in this case.

Here is the political reality.

Tens of millions of conservative Americans believe the news media is liberally biased in general and that in particular, Democratic party operatives (such as Stephanopoulos) are able to leave Democratic campaigns and political offices and get cushy journalism jobs where they puff Democrats and attack Republicans under the guise of objective reporting.

Conservatives currently feel emboldened after getting the scalp of Brain Williams.

Scores of conservative non-profits raise hundred of millions of dollars a year to fight the cause of liberal media bias and it is useful to their fundraising to have a fresh new, specific cause.

When you add it all up, I think Stephanopoulos is in for a rough few months. Will he be able to keep his job?

I’m sorry to be a coward, but I just can’t tell at this point. Everything in Stephanopoulos’s past is now going to get a whole new level of scrutiny.

Even one $50 campaign contribution to a democratic candidate for city council could be enough to get Stephanopoulos canned. Stephanopoulos, a Rhodes Scholar, is a smart guy (though not smart enough to see how this issue would blow up in his face) so I think that most of his previous reporting stands up to scrutiny as being balanced.

I well remember how Stephanopoulos was offered the job in the late 90s of being the Democratic voice on CNN’s Crossfire and opted for a lowly reporting job instead. I thought his decision was crazy. It turns out his instincts were a lot better than mine.

Stephanopoulos understands that at the network level news where he lives, the biggest rules are 1. don’t offend anybody. 2. have good hair days. 3. show up every day on time.

He’s performed all three admirably. I’d have to put his chances of surviving at 55% to 45%, but I won’t place any money on it.


TJ Walker is president of Media Training Worldwide


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