Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  30-Day Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  Comic Commentary
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute
  Culture and Media Institute

Support the MRC

February 04, 2009

Bozell to ABC President: You Must Publicly Address Stephanopoulos' Apparent Conflict of Interest
Writes Open Letter Demanding Public Resolution to Daily Strategy Calls

  Tell a friend about this site

Letter to ABC News President

Dear David Westin,

Last week’s Politico story broke the news that George Stephanopoulos, your Chief Washington Correspondent and the host of your Sunday morning news show This Week, has daily phone discussions with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, which help formulate and shape the thoughts of and messaging for the Democratic Party and the Obama Administration.

As stated in the Politico:

Everyone likes to deride the "conventional wisdom." In fairness, though, the wisdom is not yet conventional at the moment it is hatched. And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls.

This is a clear conflict of interest. But it is more than that. It is a clear violation of journalistic ethics. In a public statement on Thursday, we called on Mr. Stephanopoulos to give an explanation and to recuse himself from coverage of the Obama Administration if the Politico story is true. And we were clearly not alone in our indignation; we subsequently learned that your phone banks were shut down that same Thursday by who knows how many people who called to register their outrage over the report and this obvious breach of integrity.

We tuned in eagerly on Sunday to see if Mr. Stephanopoulos would address this glaring lack of ethics, or recuse himself from reporting on the Administration. Unfortunately, he did neither. Of course, it could also be the case that the Politico story is somehow false, in which case we would have expected Mr. Stephanopoulos to deny it. Yet there was utter silence coming from him.

So now we turn to you. With each passing day, ABC’s failure to speak to and about this issue tarnishes further your network’s reputation as a legitimate news entity. We are calling on you now, as President of ABC News, to publicly address and resolve this issue. If the charges are false, provide the evidence. We will gladly accept it and consider the matter closed. If the charges are correct, then ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively.

ABC News may decide that silence is the best policy. I assure you that will be a mistake. We will not stop this discussion. If you think you are bleeding audience numbers now, what do you suppose will be your audience’s reaction when it is established that your Chief Washington Correspondent continues to be a key strategist for the Democratic Party?


L. Brent Bozell, III
President and Founder
Media Research Center

To schedule an interview with MRC President Brent Bozell or another MRC spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer (x. 126) or Colleen O’Boyle (x. 122) at (703) 683-5004.


Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314