February 04, 2009
|CONTACT: COLLEEN O’BOYLE or TIM SCHEIDERER
Bozell to ABC President: You Must
Publicly Address Stephanopoulos' Apparent Conflict of Interest
Letter Demanding Public Resolution to Daily Strategy Calls
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.
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