A new poll finds that 46 percent of Americans want ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos banned from all 2016 campaign coverage following the revelation last week that he’d failed to disclose 75,000 in personal donations to the Clinton Foundation even as he continued to cover the recent controversy over the foundation’s foreign donors.
From May 17-18, Rasmussen Reports conducted a poll of 1,000 likely voters and found that a majority “think ABC should ban Stephanopoulos from any programming related to the presidential campaign since Hillary Clinton is running for president.” As a former staffer for President Bill Clinton, Stephanopoulos has close ties to the Clinton family that have prompted criticism of his reporting in recent years. The poll also found that 48 percent of Americans believe media bias to be “a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions,” and 37 percent believe that “the average media reporter is more liberal than they are.”
After disclosing his Clinton Foundation donations to Politico’s Dylan Byers, Stephanopoulos was instantaneously backed by ABC News, which claimed that Stephanopoulos’s actions were “an honest mistake.” Since the story originally broke, Stephanopoulos has removed himself from consideration as the host of any 2016 presidential debates, but this new poll finds the American public doesn’t think that’s enough.
48 percent of Americans believe media bias to “a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called for the anchor not to moderate any debates. Conn Carroll, communications director for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), said on Twitter that his boss won’t “go on ABC until George Stephanopoulos recuses himself from all 2016 coverage.”
Similarly, many in the media are demanding that the anchor receive some form of punishment from ABC News for his lack of journalistic integrity. In a Facebook post on May 15, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera recalled the time when he was fired from ABC News in 1985 “after fifteen great years” because of “a non-disclosed $200 donation to a family friend running in a non-partisan mayoral campaign in New Bedford.” Rivera, like most, wants to know why Stephanopoulos is getting off scot-free.
The New York Post reported on Monday that according to a “TV industry source,” Stephanopoulos signed a new contract in April 2014 for $105 million, keeping him at the head of ABC News until 2021. “ABC was desperate to lock him down after John Elliot left,” the source told the Post. “But networks execs didn’t announce the figure because they didn’t want George to get the kind of backlash that Matt Lauer got over his huge NBC contract.” While this might explain why ABC News is attempting to brush the issue under the rug, a majority of Americans apparently agree with those on the right calling for Stephanopoulos to be removed from all campaign coverage.
— Julia Porterfield is an intern at National Review, editor-in-chief of Red Millennial, and a junior at Regent University.