Given all we know now, a program informed by basic journalistic ethics should have exposed the mix of partisan politics and Trump derangement syndrome that led many in the highest reaches of media and government to countenance Steele’s absurd claims. What we need is a postmortem. Instead, we get a resurrection.
The first 50 minutes of the 68-minute program are a love letter to this former MI6 agent turned gun for hire. As ominous music plays in the background, it portrays Steele as a suave and tireless truth seeker – we even get a James Bond clip to make the point. Following a treacly account of his beloved first wife, who died young, a parade of associates assure us that Steele was the best of the best while spying in Russia for the British government and then as a private intelligence contractor after he left the service in 2009.
One of those clients was the FBI. With blazing dishonesty, ABC News suggests his work was pivotal in exposing Russia’s corrupt scheme to host the soccer World Cup in 2018. In fact, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz reported in 2019 that “Steele did not have any role in the [FIFA] investigation itself, he did not provide court testimony, and his information did not appear in any indictments, search warrants, or other court filings.”
Having falsely established Steele’s bona fides, George Stephanopoulos allows him to repeat his anti-Trump smears while merely noting here and there that not everyone agrees with his view.