Fox News has attacked ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos for participating in Clinton Foundation-affiliated events, calling it a “mistake” that compromises “good coverage.” But Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo moderated or participated in at least eight CGI events between 2008 and 2013 while at CNBC.
The Clinton Global Initiative is a nonpartisan initiative of the Clinton Foundation that convenes notable leaders to offer “solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.” It holds annual meetings during which participants make charitable commitments. For years, both CGI and the Clinton Foundation were widely praised on a bipartisan basis, with attendees and donors including leading Republican politicians and conservative media moguls. But as Hillary Clinton has emerged as a leading Democratic candidate for president, conservatives have turned on the organization, painting it as a partisan extension of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.
Bartiromo has heavily praised President Clinton and CGI, once lauding CGI as “fantastic” and saying Clinton and the foundation have done “so much in terms of raising awareness and money for the AIDS epidemic.” Bartiromo was listed as a “member” of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on the program's website.
Bartiromo is the host of Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures and the future host of the Fox Business program Morning Money with Maria Bartiromo. She regularly covers Hillary Clinton on Fox News, according to a search of Nexis.* She moved to Fox from CNBC in January 2014.
Fox News has suggested that participating in Clinton Foundation-affiliated events should disqualify a journalist from covering the Clintons. The attacks came after it was revealed that Stephanopoulos donated to the Clinton Foundation and participated in CGI events over the years.
During the May 17 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume called it “a mistake” for Stephanopoulos to have “participated in panels and other events connected to the Clinton Global Initiative.” He stated:
HUME: Well, I also covered the Clinton White House when he was press secretary and it was pretty clear to me, when he came out of that job, went to work for ABC, look, with the business we're in, there is not a priest to it. It's perfectly possible for somebody to make the transition from politics to journalism. But if there's one thing he needed to do in doing that was to sever any real or apparent ties with the Clintons. Contributing to their foundation is one thing. And now it also turns out that he participated in panels and other events connected to the Clinton Global Initiative. It is a mistake to do that. You want to be seen as independent. And if there's anybody in the world that you want to seem independent from it's the Clintons. So, that's the mistake. The apology is fine. I give him credit for making it. I like George. I think by and large he's done a good job of being even-handed in his work. But this was -- this is a mistake and I'm not sure it's going to -- he'll recover from it any time soon.
Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt suggested that Stephanopoulos' participation with CGI compromises his coverage of the presidential election. During the May 18 edition of Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson noted that Stephanopoulos attended CGI meetings as a panelist, moderator, and member. Stirewalt responded that Stephanopoulos “shouldn't do Democrat, he shouldn't do Republican” debates and “his role as part of sort of an elite group of journalists who sit on boards like this, do these kinds of things, it looks nice on the resume, but it complicates things too much and he can't get a clean shot at good questions and good coverage.”
On his May 18 program, Sean Hannity criticized Stephanopoulos for having “donated a lot of his time” to CGI, noting his attendance and moderation of CGI panels. Hannity concluded: “He's up to his eyeballs in this whole -- in this -- in this charity.”
Media Matters has previously noted that numerous Republicans and conservative media figures have supported the foundation's work. The foundation for News Corp., which is headed by Rupert Murdoch and was formerly the parent company of Fox News, donated between $500,001 to $1,000,000 to the foundation. James R. Murdoch, son of Rupert and the co-chief operating officer of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox, donated between $1,000,001 to $5,000,000. And Rupert Murdoch participated in CGI.
Bartiromo isn't the only Fox News personality who has praised the Clinton Foundation. Host Greta Van Susteren has repeatedly praised the foundation over the years. During a September 20, 2010, interview, Van Susteren told President Clinton: “I've seen so much of the good work that's gone on in terms of the money around the world, whether it's, you know, clean water and different areas.”
Van Susteren also suggested Fox News viewers get involved with CGI, stating that people may look at the event and see “big names, a lot of people who have been big contributors and very generous, what about somebody who says, 'look, I don't have any big money to contribute, I might have some ideas, or even I'm willing to do some leg work to help you out. How can I participate?'”
Bartiromo Has Heavily Praised Foundation
Bartiromo has lavished praise on the Clinton Foundation and CGI for their “good work.”
During a 2013 CGI event, Bartiromo introduced Clinton by calling him “the man of the hour behind this fantastic event ... I just want to point out that CGI has facilitated more than 2,300 commitments in 180 countries to date. When fully funded, these commitments are valued at more than $73 billion.” She added: “Mr. President, thank you for continuing your good work well beyond being in office.”
During a February 2010 interview on CNBC, Bartiromo told Clinton: “You've done so much since stepping away from the White House, whether it's North Korea, or, of course CGI, and now Haiti. Congratulations on this latest survey. CEOs prefer CGI as the number one venue in terms of getting together over any other and here you are at the World Economic Forum ... you get them to give pledges and really make a difference.”
On the September 28, 2008, edition of CNBC's Wall Street Journal Report (via Nexis), Bartiromo said: “Every year at the Clinton Global Initiative, extraordinary citizens of the world are honored at a dinner in New York City. This year, I was privileged to be the master of ceremonies for President Clinton ... Congratulations to all of the winners, and my thanks to President Bill Clinton.”
Bartiromo interviewed Clinton for that September 2008 program and said CGI is “a nonpartisan forum attended by business leaders, heads of state, that tackles global issues such as microfinancing and providing health care in third world countries. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama spoke at the conference.” She told Clinton: “On global health, you've done so much in terms of raising awareness and money for the AIDS epidemic in--throughout Africa.”
Bartiromo Participated In Numerous CGI Events
Bartiromo participated in at least eight Clinton events between 2008 and 2013.
- Bartiromo moderated the session “Beyond Microfinance: Strengthening Business and Entrepreneurship Education for Women in Emerging Economies” in September.
- Bartiromo hosted the second annual Clinton Global Citizens Awards in September.
- Bartiromo moderated the session “Moving from Crisis to Opportunity - Financing an Equitable Future” in September.
- Bartiromo moderated the session “Meeting of the Minds” in September.
- Bartiromo participated in the fourth annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards in September.
- Bartiromo moderated the session “Place-Based Innovation: Creating Centers of Prosperity” in June.
- Bartiromo moderated a discussion with President Bill Clinton in September.
- Bartiromo moderated a session called “The Pulse of Today's Global Economy” in September.
*Line added after posting.