Morning Edition: May 18, 2015

ABC's George Stephanapoulos interview former President Clinton.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviews former President Clinton at the family foundation.

GEORGIE BOY HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 5

ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos’ relationship with the Clinton family’s foundation was even more extensive than first thought, according to records we analyzed over the weekend.

Moreover, it appears that the Clintons have lured a number of prominent journalists into the fold.

According to the foundation itself, Mr. Stephanopoulos was a “featured attendee” at the foundation’s 2006 and 2007 annual convention. It is unclear whether the former Clinton adviser received an honorarium or membership to the group, which runs $20,000 a year. These journalists include PBS and CBS’ Charlie Rose; CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who appeared at least three times; former NBC News President Steve Capus; the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof; PBS anchor Judy Woodruff; and Tina Brown, former editor of several prominent magazines.

Former ABC colleagues Carole Simpon and Jeff Greenfield dissed Mr. Stephanopoulos. “I am sorry that again the public trust in the media is being challenged and frayed because of the actions of some of the top people in the business,” Ms. Simpson, who spent 25 years at ABC, told CNN. She added that he wasn’t a journalist.

Kevin Williamson puts it more bluntly in The National Review, where he calls for the ABC anchor to resign or to be fired. His argument centers on the assessment that he would have been fired for anything resembling what Mr. Stephanopoulos did. At this point, we tend to agree with Mr. Williamson. For more details, see http://bit.ly/1eaDccm

The foundation itself has raised an estimated $2 billion, but only 10 percent of that money has gone into programs, making it one of the worst in the country. Furthermore, as outlined in the Associated Press and Peter Schweizer’s book, the questionable contributions include multi-million-dollar donations from wealthy individuals connected to a Russian uranium company and potentates from the Middle East who enforce laws against women. Read more at http://read.bi/1KfzriT

THE ISLAMIC STATE MAKES DRAMATIC GAINS

The takeover of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in central Iraq near Baghdad, and Palmyra, the beautiful Roman ruins about 130 miles northeast of Damascus, provide troubling examples of how the self-proclaimed Islamic State is far from defeated.

We helped to produce a documentary about Syria and used Palmyra as a backdrop for the late Peter Jennings’ reporting.

The ruins include depictions of pagan deities, so experts worry that IS may destroy the beautiful site. For more details, see http://cnn.it/1EWDg5T

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN

We never liked “Mad Men,” which ended its eight-year run last night. But Philadelphia Daily News’ columnist Will Bunch provides an explainer on why we should have liked it. See the column at http://bit.ly/1cJl4VL

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