ABC news, if that comic exercise in political pandering can be called “news,” sent former Clinton boot-licker George Stephanopoulos in to shill for Hillary Clinton at Wednesday’s so-called Democratic Presidential debate and the result turned into a tabloid debacle that surpasses even the extremes of Fox News.
Stephanopoulos, a senior White House aide during the Clinton years, delivered for his old bosses, dishing out 40-year-old dirt spoon-fed to him by none other than right wing blowhard Sean Hannity and other brain-dead conservative radio blabbermouths.
In a breathless tone, Stephanopoulos asked Obama about his relationship with William Ayers, a former member of the radical underground Weatherman movement of the 60s. Ayers contributed to Obama’s campaign once and hosted a fundraiser for him in 1995. Like so many radicals of the 60s, Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dorn, are mainstreamers now and part of the Chicago’s political crowd.
Then Clinton, right on cue, jumped in and said a Presidential candidate should be judged by his or her associations, using the moment to revive the Jeremiah Wright connection and claim sanctimoniously that she is above such questionable ties – a unbelievably hypocritical claim from a woman whose friends include felons and ex-cons and whose husband pardoned two members of the Weatherman underground.
While it is ludicrous to expect any television network news operation to have integrity, ABC should have recognized the obvious conflict of interest in using a former member of the Clinton White House to moderate a debate that includes a Clinton. Even in a profession where brains are optional, this seemed a no-brainer.
Television networks don’t give a damn about such conflicts. Meet the Press Moderator Tim Russert was a staffer for former Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Chris Matthews worked for former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill although his brother is a Republican politico in Montgomery County, PA.
In the interests of full disclosure, I took a sabbatical from journalism in 1981 and worked for three Republican members of Congress – ranging from moderate Paul Findley of Illinois to conservative Manuel Lujan Jr. of New Mexico – but never registered as a Republican. Any regular reader of this site knows Capitol Hill Blue is not a shill for the GOP – or any other party for that matter.
ABC’s stupidity Wednesday in putting George Stephanopoulos on the moderating crew for a debate that featured the wife of his old boss is the height of stupidity and hypocrisy and his shilling for Clinton surpassed even the routine excess of what passes for news on television these days.
The question about Ayers dominated cable news discussions after the debate but most mainstream news accounts of the event either failed to mention Ayers or buried the question in the bowels of their stories.
But the shill for Hill did his duty for his patron and the sound bite for Ayers will probably turn up in another Clinton attack ad as this primary campaign winds down to its final, bitter, sordid – and long overdue – end.