Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel Holds Daily Private Conferences with ABC’s Stephanopoulos, Dem Pundits

 By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2009 ( - A recent Politico column has revealed a potentially scandalous influence of the White House on the media, in the form of a series of informal conversations between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Politico writer John F. Harris described "what may count as Washington’s longest-running conversation" among four old friends in the Washington political establishment: Emanuel, "This Week" host Stephanopoulos, and popular left-wing pundits James Carville and CNN’s Paul Begala.

"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," wrote Harris, who quoted Emanuel as saying the calls “are about what’s happening, what the implications are of what’s happening and what’s going on."

(To see the Politico report, go to:

Veteran journalist Andrew Malcolm noted that, while political operatives normally keep each other up to speed to arrange a political front, the foursome represents a troubling picture for objective journalism. 

Since Emanuel sits near the top of an administration with "a huge political stake in getting its message out its way ... the other three can go on TV as alleged observers and pass along the talking point line that best benefits their pal Rahm," Malcolm said.

"Something to keep in mind the next time you watch George ‘reporting’ on ABC or Carville and Begala ‘commenting’ on CNN," he added.

Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, decried the sustained ties as an egregious case of irresponsible journalism.

“What’s worse than the liberal media’s sycophantic coverage of President Barack Obama? ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actively helping design and deliver the Administration’s strategy and message - which he is then charged with reporting," said Bozell.

He called on Stephanopoulos to recuse himself from reporting on the Obama Administration.  Stephanopoulos, who played a prominent role in the Clinton campaign and administration, has since severed ostensible political ties to pursue a career as an independent journalist.

“For Stephanopoulos, the line between journalist and liberal strategist would be completely obliterated were it not for the fact that it apparently never existed at all," Bozell criticized.  "He didn’t fail in his attempt at transformation from liberal operative to journalist - he never made the effort."

To contact ABC News:
Ariane De Vogue, News Producer
Mary Walsh, News Producer
Toni Wilson, News Producer  

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