Rather than tell you what happened today, we need to start from the beginning.
That was Peter Schweitzer, author of the bestselling book “Clinton Cash,” being interrogated by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos – harshly – about the allegations in his book.
Shortly thereafter, this happened…
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation in recent years, records show. The contribution is publicly available information, but the host had not previously disclosed it to ABC viewers, despite taking part in on-air discussions about the Clinton Foundation and its controversial relationship with foreign donors.
Stephanopoulos, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, confirmed the donation to POLITICO’s Dylan Byers after the Free Beacon contacted ABC News for comment. The host, who acknowledged making two donations of $25,000 between 2013 and 2014, issued a statement of apology for failing to disclose his contributions. Stephanopoulos later disclosed that he made another $25,000 disclosed in 2012.
“I made charitable donations to the Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply,” Stephanopolous said. “I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record. However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.”
ABC News issued a statement of support for Stephanopoulos, while acknowledging that he should have disclosed the donations:
As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record. He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.
The author of that piece was the Washington Free Beacon’s digital managing editor Andrew Stiles. The Free Beacon broke the story, or would have, of Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation – which more or less proves what everyone already knows; namely, that Stephanopoulos is not and has never been an objective journalist but is instead a shill for the Clinton camp embedded in a mainstream news organization. But when the Free Beacon went to ABC News for a comment on the revelations about the $75,000 in donations, they were rebuffed – and ABC News gave Dylan Byers their comment when Byers was a reporter at POLITICO. Byers then was able to “break” the story in a manner friendliest to Stephanopoulos, though that didn’t really tamp down the scandal.
Fast forward to today, and here is Byers at his new job with CNN…
The conservative journalist who led the charge in outing George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation has himself donated money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, new FEC fillings show.
Andrew Stiles, the digital managing editor of Washington Free Beacon, has given $544.25 to Trump’s presidential campaign, nearly all of it in the third quarter of this year. The contribution appears to be for an order of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats. Stiles’ occupation is listed as “#1 TRUMP FAN” on the FEC filing.
The Free Beacon makes no secret of its conservative bias, and $500 is a small sum when compared to the $75,000 Stephanopoulos gave to the Clinton Foundation. But political donations of any amount are nevertheless a rarity in an industry that prides itself on freedom from conflict of interest.
In May, Stiles’ inquiries forced Stephanopoulos, the ABC News anchor, to acknowledge that he had made three $25,000 contributions to the Clinton Foundation over a three-year period. Stephanopoulos, who was a top aide to Bill Clinton during his presidential campaigns and in the White House, later apologized for his lack of disclosure and said he regretted making the donations.
At Free Beacon, Stiles has written extensively on Trump and the 2016 presidential campaign generally. His most recent post about Trump suggests that the Republican frontrunner “won” the Democratic debate by tweeting about it. A previous post indicated that the recent chaos among House Republicans was beneficial to Trump’s presidential ambitions.
Neither Stiles nor Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti were immediately available for comment on Thursday night.
Notice the hard-to-miss “Aha!” sentiment dropping from Byers’ piece?
Stiles bought a bunch of “Make America Great Again” hats from the Trump campaign, knowing that it would show up on an FEC report and someone would use that as “proof” of his bias, because he proved Stephanopoulos’ bias.
This is what’s known as trolling. The fact that it caught Dylan Byers is beyond delicious.
But hang around, because here is the cherry on top.
You got the part where Stiles and Continetti didn’t have any comment for Byers at CNN for his story, right? Well, they did have a comment – to Byers’ old colleagues at POLITICO. And it’s even more delicious than you can imagine…
The Washington Free Beacon says that a filing with the Federal Election Commission showing that their digital managing editor gave more than $500 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was actually from purchasing Trump merchandise for staff.
CNN reported on Thursday that Andrew Stiles has given $544.25 to Trump’s presidential campaign, later noting in the story that it appears to be for hats. Stiles’ occupation, which all campaign donors are asked to provide, is listed as “#1 TRUMP FAN.”
Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti said in a statement Stiles purchased the hats for the staff at the publication.
Wait, it gets better.
“As Andrew has said, he made what he thought was a charitable donation to the cause of making America great again, a cause that he cares about deeply. Additionally, Mr. Stiles has disclosed in numerous online postings on our site that he was in fact a Trump campaign donor. In August, Mr. Stiles also presented our staff with really incredible Make America Great Again hats, and by the way, they do look fantastic, they look so good your head will spin,” Continetti said.
And just a little more…
Then Continetti said Stiles will be investigated by “Biff Diddle,” which Free Beacon Managing Editor Sonny Bunch has said in the past is a pseudonym for a writer in Washington and that his writings are all tagged as parody.
“Because Mr. Stiles refuses to admit to an honest mistake and to apologize for his contribution, we have launched an internal investigation into standards and practices that will be led by our ombudsman Biff Diddle. We also would like to assure the other Republican campaigns that Mr. Stiles will not be moderating any future debates,” Continetti said.
The last reference, of course, was to Stephanopoulos’ having moderated one of the 2012 Republican debates at which he asked an obscure and, at the time, bizarre-seeming question to Mitt Romney about contraception that shortly preceded the rolling-out of Sandra Fluke and the Democrats’ “War On Women” narrative – and the “internal investigations” at news organizations following revelations of bias and conflict of interest which never amount to anything have become a cliche’ the Free Beacon skewers by declaring that its fake reporter will be handling the one of Stiles.
This is well done, and it not only makes Byers and his new organization at CNN look stupid, but it serves the purpose of showing what propagandists they are.
But that having been said, don’t be surprised if multiple left-wing media outfits report the melee not as a prank but as an honest reflection of the lack of objectivity by conservative media. If MSNBC, for example, were to pick up on this you can bet they’ll breathlessly discuss how the Free Beacon is in Donald Trump’s pocket and Stiles’ “donation” is proof.