It was big news earlier this month when it was revealed ABC’s lead political talking head George Stephanopolous had made a $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation and did not disclose the gift.
Stephanopolous apologized for the breach of journalistic ethics and ABC is hoping the story will go away.
Apparently, ABC has been working on how to mitigate the fallout from their star’s mistake even before the story became known.
The first new outlet to uncover the Stephanopolous donation was the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative-leaning news outfit.
The Free Beacon reporter contacted ABC News with the information and asked for their comment just as journalistic ethics would call for.
ABC News withheld comment on the story for several days.
Hours before the Free Beacon was going to publish their story, the left-leaning website Politico suddenly published the exact story but with a much more generous explanation for Stephanopolous’ mistake.
Now, it turns out, the ABC News press flack in charge of responding to the Free Beacon’s story was . . . a former Clinton staffer herself!
Heather Riley, spokeswoman for ABC News programs Good Morning America and This Week, worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is a member of the Facebook group “(Bill) Clinton Administration Alumni.” White House records show that Riley’s duties included serving as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
And here’s how she managed to use her contacts among the news gathering and political world to shape this very embarassing story about to hit one of her fellow Clinton travelers.
The Free Beacon contacted ABC News on Wednesday afternoon to request comment on George Stephanopoulos’s previously undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation. Riley emailed later that night: “I was just forwarded your email about George.I’m going to send you something…Want to make sure you get it in time.”
Riley later told the Free Beacon she would talk to Stephanopoulos and deliver a statement by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The statement did not arrive until 9:40 a.m., about 15 minutes after POLITICO published its “scoop” about the donations. “Here you go,” Riley wrote in the email.
It widely known there is a revolving door between leftist politicians and the mainstream news media. They always claim it doesn’t mean anything and their reporting and political lives don’t intersect. This incident serves to underline how they use their position and their contacts to shape the media narrative in favor of their former (or future) bosses.