‘It’s journalistic malpractice’ to air live Trump interview, says ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos

Harping on the “big lie” and a brazen take on what constituted “journalistic malpractice” had ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos lamenting one particular aspect of covering the former president.

Pride Month may focus exclusively on the ever-broadening spectrum of alphabet activism, but the premiere episode of “Mediaite’s Press Club” podcast embraced the more traditional scope of the vice. In particular, as the once spokesperson to then-President Bill Clinton opined on the 2024 election, taking on the role of arbiter of truth included demonizing live, unfiltered appearances of former President Donald Trump.

“I mean, I think it’s journalistic malpractice to do a live interview with President Trump on television,” contended the host of “This Week” to Mediaite editor-in-chief Aidan McLaughlin who had prompted the dialogue asserting, “I have long felt that Trump’s superpower is a lack of shame.”

“Huge,” chimed in Stephanopoulos while McLaughlin continued, “And you see it when, you know, when he’ll be up on a town hall stage or a debate stage, or in an interview with a reporter, and he’ll say ‘Two plus two equals five,’ and he’ll get fact-checked and we’ll just keep barreling through. Or, when there’s a controversy and he doesn’t apologize for it when any other politician in the history of politics would.”

On the debates, the host brought up the planned events, hosted by CNN on June 27 and then by ABC News in September, and mentioned the agreed-upon lack of an audience and talk of controlled microphones.

“I think that helps a bit,” reacted Stephanopoulos. “I don’t know exactly how the mic thing is going to work…But I do think that those conditions help a bit. But it’s still a very, very complicated thing to do.”

“I think that’s something that has always been perilous, you know, a challenge for interviewers. But the same thing will happen in the debate,”  he continued regarding Trump “changing the subject” during questioning as though a strategy of steering interviews was not commonplace in politics.

Much of the banter between the talking heads revolved around the outcome of the first matchup between the president and then-former Vice President Joe Biden with Stephanopoulos stating, “I mean, I for one don’t believe you can pretend that refusing to accept the 2020 election is on a par with other issues. It’s as fundamental as it gets. Is that going to be put in the proper context in the debate?”

As it happened, while the ABC News anchor extolled the integrity of select former White House officials who had made the jump to corporate media while challenging a supposed lack among others, he broadly deflected when McLaughlin raised the point that he had been slapped with a lawsuit by Trump over characterization of the ruling in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case.

The complaint had said in part, “the jury expressly found that Plaintiff (Trump) did not commit rape and, as demonstrated below, Defendant George Stephanopoulos was aware of the jury’s finding in this regard yet still falsely stated otherwise.”

“Since making such, false, malicious and defamatory statements, many news and press outlets have continued to quote Stephanopoulos by wrongfully broadcasting that Plaintiff was found liable for rape,” the complaint added.

While the anchor had since filed a motion to dismiss, he maintained a position as gatekeeper to the president’s comments and said, “I for one will not put — allow on my program — sound from Trump that is demonstrably untrue,” joining outlets like MSNBC in controlling what messages delivered from the GOP leader will be transmitted to their audience.

Kevin Haggerty

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