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Which Stephanopoulos Spin Is Phoniest?

George Stephanopoulos granted an interview to the Mediabistro blog. Try to pick which answer is the lamest line of spin.

1. George is asked: Do you think that the star-power or the story lines that are coming out is a reflection of the candidates themselves, or is it being brought on by the media? He replied that the humble-little-Old-Media have had absolutely no effect on the campaigns:

I think it’s embedded in the race. I don’t think the media’s doing anything to the race or changing anything in the race or finding anything in the race that’s not there.

2. Later, George is asked about whether humor shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report affect news coverage. George responds that it’s one reason they created the “Sunday Funnies” feature on “This Week,” to acknowledge that younger viewers like a lot of comedy with their political analysis. But the very next question is how ratings affect the Sunday show:

Obviously you have to think about it. They don’t dictate our content in any way, but we’re aware of them and we always try to figure out what we can learn from them…

3. Then came the touchiest question: how does the (former?) Clinton spin artist manage the news on ABC, phrased this way: “you have experience both in politics and covering it. Do you see the roles as working in opposition or in conjunction with each other?” George replied:

Well there’s always a tension there. What I think we’re in the business of doing is trying to inform viewers and educate them and get them all the tools they need to make a decision that will affect politics and government. So we’re a part of the broader civic and political process, no question about it. To do our job well, that means we have to stand apart from the decision-makers, and ask questions that are on people’s minds so we can get the answers that people need to have.

I pick (3) as the phoniest of the three phony lines. I never forget that Stephanopoulos acknowledged to Don Imus in 2005 that he’s still on the phone with James Carville every day.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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