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George Stephanopoulos corrected earlier reports saying he gave $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It was really $75,000, leaving many to wish they made so much money that they would “forget” about $25,000. But even before the donation news, Stephanopoulos should not be trusted by viewers and the network to be objective with political reporting.

The ABC Newsman also said he would not participate in the 2016 Republican debate which will be hosted by his network: 

The “Good Morning America” co-anchor and host of “This Week” said that he would not moderate ABC’s GOP debate, which is scheduled to take place in February in New Hampshire. Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that Stephanopoulos should be prohibited from moderating any debates during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I won’t moderate that debate,” Stephanopoulos said. “I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly. That said, I know there have been questions made about moderating debates this year. I want to be sure I don’t deprive viewers of a good debate.”  

As to his statement about moderating debates fairly…people who remember his 2012 questions about birth control might not agree with Stephanopoulos.

But Stephanopoulos said that he would not recuse himself from coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, despite urging from the office of Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, which said Thursday that Sen. Lee would be advised not to go on “This Week” unless the host “recuses himself from all 2016 coverage.”

Honestly this is about more than just his donations to the Clinton Foundation. It’s a matter of Stephanopoulos’ having ties too close to the Democratic Party to be trusted as objective on any political story.

In 2010 Politico described his then 17-year tradition of morning phone chats with Democratic Party operatives:

Carville calls White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel calls ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

A bit later, CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is not quite the early bird that his friends are, will complete the circle with a rapid set of calls to all three.

Different versions of this round-robin chatter have been taking place, with few interruptions, every workday for nearly a generation.

“I refer to it as the 17-year-long conference call,” said Emanuel, who starts calling his friends at 6 a.m. “You can tap into it anytime you want.”

Everyone likes to deride the “conventional wisdom.” In fairness, though, the wisdom is not yet conventional at the moment it is hatched.

And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls.

The process happens not by design but as the byproduct of pre-dawn badinage — a smart-set take on the world that gets amplified by the prominent platforms all of them hold and by the dozens of later calls and lunches and rants that they will carry on with others throughout the day.

In that sense, the morning calls — no single one of which usually lasts more than a few minutes — among this gang of four is the headwaters of at least one major tributary of Washington politics.

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