Former ABC news anchor Carole Simpson said her old colleague George Stephanopoulos "really is not a journalist" on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, adding the network had placed itself in a quandary by placing the ex-Clinton aide in such a prominent position.
Stephanopoulos has come under fire for not disclosing $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation while he was aggressively questioning the author of a book critical of that organization and its foreign money influence over the Clintons. He admitted to it after the Washington Free Beacon discovered the donation, leaking the story to Politico and apologizing for not being upfront with viewers about his conflict of interest.
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CNN's Brian Stelter asked Simpson whether this was "all an example of the troubling coziness that sometimes exists in this bubble of the media business."
"Yes, there's a coziness that George cannot escape," she said. "He was press secretary for President Clinton. That's pretty close. And while he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really is not a journalist. Yet ABC has made him the face of ABC News, the chief anchor, and I think they're really caught in a quandary here."
Stephanopoulos joined ABC after serving as a communications aide to Clinton during his first term, and he eventually became host of the Sunday political talk show This Week and co-anchor of Good Morning America.
Simpson served as weekend anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. ABC publicly accepted Stephanopoulos' apology and called the whole thing an "honest mistake," but Simpson said in private the network's higher-ups were likely "hopping mad."
"The worst thing that could happen to a network and to its celebrities is to have bad publicity," she said. "We don't know what is going on and what they're telling him. George may be in some hot water within ABC."
[H/T Daily Beast]