May 17, 2015

Sorry to pick on you, Brianna Keilar, but you and your colleagues need a lesson in Charity 101 and Campaign Finance 201.

Let's begin with charities. The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is a charity whose sole purpose is to do charitable things. This means they spend money to help treat AIDS in Africa, or slow the spread of malaria. They send medicines to people who need them. They might engage in microloans to women in third-world countries to help lift them out of poverty. But the thing to understand here is that they are actually operating for charitable purposes.

Doctors Without Borders, the American Diabetes Association, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation are other examples of charities doing direct charitable work.

George Stephanopoulis donated money to the charity his former boss spearheads "strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children and protect the environment in poor countries," as he described in his apology.

Take note, media: GSteph donated to the Clinton Foundation for the sole purpose of supporting charitable acts undertaken by the Foundation. This is not bias, it's just a donation, which is not at all like the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing through right wing nonprofits for the sole purpose of funding "corporate speech."

The Kochtopus and Citizens United have perverted everyone's perception of charitable organizations, and in particular, the media's. You saw it when the reports emerged that ZOMG, the Clintons spent SO MUCH MONEY on salaries and didn't give grants like those fine right-wing organizations do.

This is because the Clinton Foundation does the work themselves. They don't grant to other organizations like the Kochs do, because they are not laundering donations to support political candidates, perverting the notion of "charity" in the process.

That perversion -- the 501c4 "public welfare" organization and its interface with PACs -- gives lazy media a "scandal" to gabble about that isn't a scandal at all.

Had GSteph donated over $75,000 to a PAC run by the Clintons, ABC would have had a legitimate beef. But donating to the Clinton Foundation? Did he donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fight breast cancer? Because if he did, why aren't they arguing that he should apologize for giving to an organization that's a charity and also one that has involved itself in policy decisions?

They aren't because the Susan G. Komen Foundation, like the Clinton Foundation, is functioning as a charity, even after their brief foray into activist waters a few years back.

With these distinctions in mind, listen to Paul Ryan -- who is intimately familiar with the differences between PACs and charities -- exploit CNN's Brianna Keilar's lazy reporting in order to twist this all around into something terrible.

KEILAR: George Stephanopoulos, I want to ask you about him. He's under fire. ABC News anchor, very well respected. And it turns out he has donated over the last three years $75,000 to the Clinton administration.

Uh, no. That was $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, Brianna. Let's get the facts straight here.

He often engages in some fiery exchanges with politicians, including yourself.

KEILAR: Do you have faith that he will ask just as tough questions of Democrats, of Hillary Clinton? He has recused himself of mediating a GOP debate. But is that enough? Because he will continue to cover 2016.

Somehow I'm fairly certain giving to a foundation to help AIDS sufferers, poor people and the environment is not going to disqualify him from covering 2016. But given that he was Bill Clinton's press secretary, any bias he might have had would probably exist because of that, not because he donated to their foundation.

Looking back to the 2008 debates, he was pilloried by Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart for some of the questions he put to the Democratic field in that debate, questions he ultimately defended as those candidates should expect from the right wing.

In other words, they can cry bias and maybe even be right, but not because GSteph donated to a charity actually doing charitable work. It galls me that our sluggard media refuses to understand the difference between being a charity and perverting one.

I'll let the zombie-eyed-Granny-starver have the last word:

RYAN: I've been on his show plenty of times. And, look, I'm used to that. But the way I would look at this situation is he just basically revealed that he is who he was and you know, and is that person. Most people, most conservatives expect this. But I think he probably should have used - exercised better judgment because he is supposed to be objective. And at least appear to be objective and this clearly doesn’t help him do that.

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