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How the Media Got Into Bed with the Clintons

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Republican operative Karl Rove writes in The Wall Street Journal that “few demonstrate as much contempt for journalists as do Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

That may be true for Obama, but Mrs. Clinton has taken a different approach.

Her platforms, the Clinton Foundation and its project, the Clinton Global Initiative, have given the appearance of humanitarian work, drawing many big names from the media into her network of influence. No wonder they treat her with deference and respect. The media have been compromised.

“Until late Tuesday afternoon,” reports USA Today, “the Clinton Foundation website listed CNN anchor Jake Tapper as a ‘speaker’ at a Clinton Global Initiative event scheduled for June 8-10 in Denver. After USA TODAY asked CNN about the event, Tapper’s name was swiftly removed from the Clinton Foundation website.”

It appears that Tapper will still participate in the meeting, but not as a speaker.

This Tapper controversy should put an end to the pretense that George Stephanopoulos of ABC News is the only member of the journalism business who was compromised through his involvement in the Clinton Foundation.

A list of media members of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2011 included Stephanopoulos and many others:

  • Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
  • Thomas Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Lionel Barber, U.S. Managing Director, The Financial Times
  • Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC (now with Fox Business Network)
  • Matt Lauer, Host, The Today Show, NBC
  • Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief and American Business Editor, The Economist
  • Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent and Moderator of Meet the Press, NBC News
  • Greta Van Susteren, Anchor and Host, Fox News Channel
  • Anderson Cooper, Anchor, CNN
  • Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS
  • Katie Couric, Anchor, CBS News (now with Yahoo)
  • Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International

The pro-Clinton group Media Matters has been having a field day with the news that Fox News personalities were on the list. The group points out that Van Susteren and Bartiromo have both lavished praise on the Clinton Global Initiative for its good work.

For our part, we have been drawing attention to media links to the Clintons for at least 10 years. It wasn’t considered controversial by the media, on the left or right, until the release of Peter Schweizer’s new book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. Schweizer has attempted to link some of the contributions made to the Clintons to actions taken by the Obama administration when Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State.

We noted back in 2005 that Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of the Fox News parent company, was a participant in the Clinton Global Initiative meeting held in New York in mid-September of that year. As we also pointed out, Clinton himself had appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News Channel show to promote the event.

That same year we reported that the Fox News Channel, in addition to giving Clinton a platform to talk about his Global Initiative, had done then-Senator Hillary Clinton a big favor by canceling some interviews with Ed Klein, the author of a book critical of Hillary.

Back in 2007 we noted that Murdoch had personally made a $500,000 gift to the Clinton Global Initiative.

“In terms of the Clinton Global Initiative,” Van Susteren told former President Clinton in a 2010 interview, “I’ve seen so many of the good works in terms of the money that goes around the world, whether it’s clean water in different areas. If there is one particular mission for you to describe the Clinton Global Initiative, what is it?”

Clinton’s lengthy reply to this softball question included praise for Frank Giustra, the Canadian business executive, for giving $20 million. Giustra’s donations have subsequently been linked to a plan to win U.S. approval to sell a uranium company to Russia.

Rather than look into the contributions of Giustra and others, Van Susteren encouraged others to contribute to the Clintons. She said to the former president, “A lot of people look at the program, a lot of big names, big contributors and very generous, what about somebody who says I don’t have any big money to contribute. I might have some ideas, or I’m willing to do some leg work to help. How can I participate?”

Isn’t that nice? Even Fox News was in bed with the Clintons.

In a September 27, 2012 column, we pointed out that members of the media scheduled to speak at that year’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting were:

  • Nicholas D. Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Piers Morgan, Host, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight
  • Charlie Rose, Executive Editor and Anchor, “Charlie Rose”
  • Fareed Zakaria, Host, CNN-GPS

It turns out that 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney even attended and addressed that year’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting. Perhaps he had been told by Republican advisers like Rove that it was a humanitarian event with a bipartisan flavor.

“Since serving as President here in America,” Romney declared, “President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world. One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate. That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives.”

The comment goes to show how Clinton, who disgraced himself by having sex with a White House intern and was impeached, has had his reputation rehabilitated. A Republican who got caught doing such things would be forced to slink away and beg for forgiveness from the media.

Romney may have gotten bad advice about going to that event, but it was Romney himself who told Jan Crawford of CBS News during the campaign that the major media were not in the tank for President Obama and that he had no plans to challenge liberal media bias.

No wonder the Democrats are so confident about their ability to manipulate the press. They have the Republicans eating out of their hands.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org



 

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