Opinion: ABC keeps covering for Jeffrey Epstein
Last week, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, a group that has often infiltrated news organizations to uncover liberal bias, released an explosive “hot mic” video of “Good Morning America” co-host Amy Robach venting about ABC’s decision to spike a story about late serial sex predator Jeffrey Epstein’s nefarious activities three years ago.
“I had this interview with (Epstein victim) Virginia Roberts,” Robach is seen saying in the video, “we would not put it on the air. The (British royal) Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were afraid we wouldn't be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also quashed the story.”
Robach now claims, through a network statement, that she was caught “in a private moment” of frustration over the lack of progress on a story. “I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn't air because I could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC's editorial standards about her allegations.”
Sorry, but Robach’s response to the firestorm doesn't square with her initial comments, in which she states that “Roberts had pictures, she had everything ... it was unbelievable what we had. (Bill) Clinton, we had everything.”
“Everything” sure sounds like sufficient corroborating evidence for any new organization. Even if employing the most scrupulous journalistic standards, a major outlet like ABC wouldn't need three years to substantiate — or dismiss — a story that features pictures, dates, and a credible witness.
We certainly know that ABC didn’t need “everything” — or very much of anything, for that matter — when it was running scores of pieces online and on television, highlighting every risible accusation against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
I'm not even talking about the prime accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, whose allegations still haven't been corroborated, but rather about someone such as Julie Swetnick, who was all over ABC News at the height of the confirmation battle. Swetnick accused Kavanaugh not only of sexual assault but also of being present at parties where women were being drugged and "gang raped." She wasn't remotely credible.
Was Robach’s colleague, former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos, meeting ABC's editorial standards when he allowed Swetnick's shyster lawyer Michael Avenatti to smear Kavanaugh without offering a shred of substantiating evidence for her claims?
Why couldn't Roberts be interviewed similarly?
Robach contends in the hot-mic video that producers told her they spiked the story because no one knew, or cared, about Epstein. Yet Roberts had alleged that Epstein kept her as a sex slave and forced her to perform sex acts on people like Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz. Do you think viewers cared about this high profile men? I imagine so.
Three years ago, you might remember, Bill Clinton’s wife was in the midst of her revving up her presidential run. One imagines a story detailing her husband's vacations to a pedophile's island retreat might have been newsworthy.
By the way, now that the Epstein story has broken, has Robach wrapped up that reporting on Clinton, yet?
The notion that Robach believed she was merely venting during a “private moment” isn't plausible, either. Any regular guest — and Robach is on TV every day — knows that a gaggle of producers is listening to everything that's being said, and that everything that's being said is going to be on tape.
Yet, instead of facing these questions, ABC has convinced another network, CBS, to fire the staffer who blew the whistle on the spiked Epstein story in the first place. Or in other words, paired with NBC News' burying of the Harvey Weinstein story, we now have evidence of three major media institutions colluding to bury stories about serial abusers. One wonders how many young women might have been saved if they hadn't.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America's Enduring History With the Gun.”