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HomeWorld NewsABC’s Stephanopoulos claims airing Trump interviews live is ‘journalistic malpractice’

ABC’s Stephanopoulos claims airing Trump interviews live is ‘journalistic malpractice’

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During a recent interview, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos claimed it is irresponsible for media outlets to air live television interviews with former President Trump.

The anchor and former President Clinton adviser spoke to Mediaite editor-in-chief Aidan McLaughlin for the inaugural episode of the outlet’s “Press Club” podcast airing on Saturday. The two journalists spoke about covering the presidential election this year and how the media need to approach reporting on the former president.

“I mean, I think it’s journalistic malpractice to do a live interview with President Trump on television,” Stephanopoulos told McLaughlin during the remote interview.


Donald Trump, George Stephanopoulos

During a recent podcast interview, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos argued that it is irresponsible for networks or journalists to air Trump interviews live because of how he distorts the truth. (LEFT: Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Right: (Photo by Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images))

The Mediaite host brought up the topic, stating how Trump is difficult to handle because “I have long felt that Trump’s superpower is a lack of shame.” 

“Huge,” the ABC man chimed in. 

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.”

Stephanopoulos followed up by noting that wrangling with Trump is “going to be a challenge” during the upcoming presidential debates, and then made his “malpractice” point.

Other networks have put the ABC News anchor’s perspective into practice. MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow explained her show’s decision to decline to air Trump’s Iowa primary victory speech in January. At the time, she told her viewers, “There is a cost to us, as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things. That is a fundamental truth of our business and who we are. And so, his remarks, tonight, will not air here live. We will monitor them and let you know about any news that he makes.”

McLaughlin asked the ABC News anchor what he thought about the network hosting the debate cutting Trump’s microphone at certain points in the event. 

“I think that helps a bit,” Stephanopoulos said, adding, “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.” 

His own network, ABC, will be hosting the second debate, while CNN will host the first.

The anchor also said that one of Trump’s debate and interview “techniques” is “simply to keep on changing the subject.”

“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 added. 

“I, for one, don’t believe you can pretend that refusing to accept the 2020 election is on a par with other issues,” he said. “It’s as fundamental as it gets. Is that going to be put in the proper context in the debate?”


George Stephanopoulos

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an episode of ABC News’ “This Week.” (Screenshot/ABC/ThisWeek)

Stephanopoulos commented in April on how unusual this upcoming presidential election will be with Trump’s various indictments. He also warned that the race can’t covered treated normally because of the threat to democracy.

“Those bedrock tenets of democracy are being tested in a way we haven’t seen since the Civil War. It’s a test for the candidates, for those of us in the media, and for all of us as citizens,” he said on an episode of ABC New’s “This Week,” adding elsewhere that the “scale of the abnormality is so staggering.”

Stephanopoulos is being sued by Trump for defamation after the anchor said that the former president was “found liable for rape” during a conversation with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., in March. 

A federal jury in New York decided that Trump was not liable for rape but was liable for sexual abuse and defamation in the 2023 civil trial of advice columnist E. Jean Carroll v. Trump.

Stephanopoulos, who has since filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, told CBS late night host Stephen Colbert in May that he won’t be “cowed out of doing my job because of a threat.”


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