The Corner

Politics & Policy

ABC’s Excuse for Failing to Report on Jeffrey Epstein Makes Absolutely No Sense

Jeffrey Epstein at a status hearing in his sex trafficking case in New York, July 31, 2019 (Court sketch: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, a group that has often infiltrated news organizations to uncover liberal bias, has released an explosive “hot mic” video of Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach venting about ABC’s decision to spike a story about Jeffrey Epstein’s nefarious activities three years ago.

“I had this interview with [Epstein victim] Virginia Roberts,” Robach is seen saying in the video, “we would not put it on the air. The [British royal] Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also quashed the story.”

Robach now claims, through a network statement, that she was caught “in a private moment” of frustration over the lack of progress on a story. “I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because I could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations.”

Sorry, but Robach’s response to the firestorm doesn’t square with her initial comments, in which she states that “Roberts had pictures, she had everything . . . it was unbelievable what we had. [Bill] Clinton, we had everything.”

“Everything” sure sounds like sufficient corroborating evidence. Even if employing the most scrupulous journalistic standards, a giant news organization wouldn’t need three years to substantiate — or dismiss — a story with pictures, dates, and a credible witness.

We certainly know that ABC didn’t need “everything” — or much of anything, for that matter – when it was running scores of pieces online and on television, highlighting every risible accusation against then–Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

I’m not even talking about the prime accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, whose allegations still haven’t been corroborated, but rather about someone such as Julie Swetnick, who was all over the ABC News at the height of the confirmation battle. Swetnick accused Kavanaugh not only of sexual assault but also of being present at parties where women were being drugged and “gang raped.” She wasn’t even remotely credible.

Yet here is Robach’s colleague, former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos, meeting ABC’s editorial standards by allowing Swetnick’s shyster lawyer Michael Avenatti to smear Kavanaugh without offering a shred of substantiating evidence for her claims.

Why couldn’t Roberts be interviewed similarly?

Roberts had alleged that Epstein kept her as a sex-slave and forced her to perform sex acts on Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz. Robach contends in the hot-mic video that producers told her no one knew, or cared, about Epstein. Do you think viewers cared or knew about Clinton, Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew?

I imagine so.

Three years ago, remember, Bill Clinton’s wife was in the midst of her presidential run. One imagines that a story detailing her husband’s vacations to a pedophile’s island retreat might have been newsworthy.

By the way, has Robach wrapped up that reporting on Clinton, yet?

The notion that she believes she was venting during “private moment” isn’t plausible, either. Any regular guest — and Robach is on TV every day — knows that a gaggle of producers are listening to everything that’s being said, and that everything that’s being said is going to be on tape.

Paired with NBC News’ burying of the Harvey Weinstein story, we now have evidence of two major media institutions protecting serial abusers. One wonders how many young women might have been saved if they hadn’t.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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