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ABC News Threatened to Pull George Stephanopoulos Off the Air if He Didn’t Apologize for Biden Swipe

ABC News Threatened to Pull George Stephanopoulos Off the Air if He Didn’t Apologize for Biden Swipe
Source: MEGA

The head of ABC News issued George Stephanopoulos a stern warning after he was caught on camera declaring he did not believe embattled President Joe Biden could serve out a second term.

Jul. 10 2024, Published 9:30 a.m. ET

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The head of ABC News issued George Stephanopoulos a stern warning after he was caught on camera declaring he did not believe embattled President Joe Biden could serve out a second term — and even threatened him with being taken off the air if he didn’t apologize.

Debra OConnell, the powerful president of the news division, summoned 63-year-old Stephanopoulos to an urgent meeting on Tuesday night after the video was published online and set off a crisis inside the network, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.

OConnell rallied her top behind-the-scenes advisors, including the network’s public relations consultants, for an “all-hands-on-deck” meeting before privately dressing down Stephanopoulos.

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abc news threaten george stephanopoulos apologize joe biden swipe
Source: MEGA

Debra OConnell rallied her top behind-the-scenes advisors for an “all-hands-on-deck” meeting before privately dressing down Stephanopoulos.

A source inside the network told RadarOnline.com: “This was a fully-fledged crisis and it exploded with far-reaching reverberations."

The insider added OConnell told Stephanopoulos: “In no uncertain terms that he is a newsman who is expected to be objective.

“She was furious that someone of George’s experience and status would compromise the news division’s impartiality, and subject it to unnecessary and embarrassing headlines.”

Stephanopoulos was told if he didn’t fall on his sword and make a swift apology, he risked being taken off-air at both Good Morning America and as moderator of This Week.

The insider said: “George backed Debra into a corner. If he did not apologize, how could he continue with his duties at ABC News without the network facing an avalanche of criticism.

“Even though he backed away from the comment, and attempted to minimize it as a quip, Debra and the top bosses inside the news division know the damage has been done.

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abc news threaten george stephanopoulos apologize joe biden swipe
Source: MEGA

“This was a fully-fledged crisis and it exploded with far-reaching reverberations."

“You can expect the Trump campaign and GOP to seize on this. You can also expect the White House to avoid ABC News moving forward. Biden will never sit down with Stephanopoulos ever again.”

Stephanopoulos was recorded answering a question from a passer-by in Midtown Manhattan about Biden’s political future in the wake of his disastrous debate performance on June 27 and the fallout within the Democrats with many calling for him to pullout of the party’s ticket.

The anonymous interrogator asked Stephanopoulos: “Do you think Biden should step down? You’ve talked to him more than anybody else has lately.”

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The soft-spoken Stephanopoulos responded after a pause: “I don’t think he can serve four more years."

The questioner repeated: "You don’t think he can serve four more years? All right, that’s an answer.”

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abc news threaten george stephanopoulos apologize joe biden swipe
Source: MEGA

Stephanopoulos said of President Biden: “I don’t think he can serve four more years."

Less than three hours after the video made headlines, Stephanopoulos went cap in hand and expressed regret for offering up his candid response.

He said in a statement: “Earlier today I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn’t have."

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ABC News, in their own statement, added: “George expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News.”

Stephanopoulos is one of the few outsiders in recent weeks to have had a first-hand view of Biden.

The journalist snared the first television interview in the fallout of the debate and pressed Biden whether he had taken cognitive tests, and how he might feel if he continued to run for the White House but lost the election to Donald Trump.

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Biden told Stephanopoulos, a former White House communications director in the Clinton administration: “Look, I have a cognitive test every single day.

“Every day, I’ve had tests. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, I’m running the world. And that’s not — it sounds like hyperbole, but we are the central nation of the world.”

In the interview, the president rejected calls to exit the race, saying: “If the Lord Almighty came down and said, ‘Joe, get out of the race’, I’d get out of the race, but the Lord Almighty’s not coming down.”

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