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Why Clinton-Bashing Articles Are A Golden Goose For Her Detractors

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Why Clinton-Bashing Articles Are A Golden Goose For Her Detractors


We’re beyond corrections now.

The New York Times issued a lengthy editors’ note Tuesday regarding the paper’s tangled, bungled coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails, which, they conceded, “may have left readers with a confused picture.”

That’s a rather gentle gloss on the media tempest that made landfall Thursday night, after an article that purported to break news of a criminal investigation into Clinton, was published on the Times site and front page Friday morning, and was the subject of an email blast.

But then the Times silently amended the story, whittling the headline, and the story’s claims, down from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” and then finally, “Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” where it stands as of this writing.

Of course by then, it had been copied, repeated, and aggregated all over the Web.

Per Reuters:

The New York Times originally reported that two government inspectors general had asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of her private email account

It altered its report on its website overnight without explanation to suggest she personally was not the focus of a criminal referral.

Then, the Justice Department said the inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into the emails, before backtracking and saying that there was a request for a probe but not a criminal one.

When the crux of the original story — that Clinton was under criminal investigation — was tweaked to indicate that the investigation was not criminal in nature, nor was Clinton the target, the Times editors quietly corrected it on the online edition of the paper, after it had been online for a few hours, with none of the fanfare that attended the original story’s publication: no email blast; no correction.

Times public editor, Margaret Sullivan, published a long note outlining exactly how and why Times reporters fouled it up. She concluded that, in the Times’ haste to publish an earth-shattering exposé on the Democratic frontrunner, the paper of record had rushed to print an overly sensationalistic story that relied on dubious sources. She also lamented editors’ decision to discreetly revise the story without first issuing a proper correction. Her prescription: “Less speed. More transparency.”

National Memo editor Joe Conason argued Monday that:

Sullivan lets the Times editors and reporters off a bit too easily, allowing them to blame their anonymous sources and even to claim that the errors “may have been unavoidable.” What she fails to do, as usual, is to examine the deeper bias infecting Times coverage of Hillary and Bill Clinton — a problem that in various manifestations dates back well over two decades.

It seems clear that the Times article was written in accordance with the “Clinton rules” of journalism — which, as articulated by Jonathan Allen, state that “the scoop that brings down Hillary Clinton and her family’s political empire” is the primary goal for journalists. Clinton rules endorse the use of tabloid-worthy headlines (“Criminal!”) and dubious sources, presume guilt, and operate under the assumption of a massive Clintonian conspiracy of widespread collusion and ill intent.

The Times finally ran two belated, garrulous corrections — the first on Saturday, the second on Sunday — which together read:

An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials. It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.

An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a “security referral,” pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a “criminal referral.”

These are not corrections on the order of “Mr. McDougal’s name is actually MacDougal,” and it’s baffling that they would be treated as such, quietly airbrushed onto the site like fixing a typo. Which, of course, became the next phase of the story.

It didn’t help that the Times reporter who wrote the piece conceded that the corrections were “a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable.” This is how a Clinton-bashing story evolves from one of sloppy journalism to the way Hillary Clinton muscled a media titan into reporting what she wanted them to report.

Of course this episode is already becoming subsumed into the vast Clinton conspiracy, as when S.E. Cupp accused the Times of altering its headline “because Hillary asked them to.” A Breitbart headline similarly proclaimed: “New York Times Stealth-Edits Clinton Email Story At Her Command.”

As Sullivan said, “you can’t put stories like this back in the bottle – they ripple through the entire news system.”

Clinton-bashing articles are the gifts that keep on giving, a veritable golden goose of insinuation, innuendo, and dishonesty: Even once the initial specious recriminations have crumbled, the storm of media attention and confusion that follows creates a feedback loop that reinforces Clinton’s detractors’ view of her as a media-manipulating mastermind. And for voters — even those who support Clinton — it’s a reminder that this kind of thing is just going to happen again and again.

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in West Columbia, South Carolina on July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane  

Sam Reisman

Sam Reisman is the former managing editor at The National Memo, where he still writes the weekly "This Week In Crazy" column. His writing has appeared in Flavorpill, The Huffington Post, Columbia Daily Spectator, and Bwog. He was the publisher of the 2010 edition of Inside New York, an annual guidebook to the city for students and young professionals.

Since 2011, he has co-curated and hosted Peculiar Streams, a showcase for NYC-based writers, musicians, comedians, and filmmakers. He is a staff writer at Mediaite, and blogs at SamReisman.com.

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  1. David July 29, 2015

    Poor Hillary!!! After ducking all that sniper fire in Bosnia and now have to go through this? Hey, she told us those 33,000 emails didn’t have any thing to do with government business and I believe her!

    1. johninPCFL July 29, 2015

      Probably had as much classified material as Condi Rice’s and Colin Powell’s did. Of course, we’ll never know since they erased all of their emails from their servers.

      1. David July 29, 2015

        Wonder if Hillary’s emails had anything about Vince Foster or those cattle futures?

        1. johninPCFL July 29, 2015

          Since those acts in the “Circus for the Rubes” happened before the server was set up it’s unlikely.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

            Stupid men like David are just looking for a way to insure that Hillary can’t run. It’s called down and dirty scumbucketry.

          2. David July 30, 2015

            No, inquiring minds would like to know about those missing 33,000 emails.

      2. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

        Quite right…Just like GWB in January 2001, had a shredding fest that shredded government documents with his Daddy’s links to IranContraGate. Too bad many journalists already had the inside story on that and both Reagan and Daddy Bush should have gone to jail for making deals with Iran to sell arms they knew were going to be used to topple Saddam Hussein and the Bath government, GHWB double crossed.

    2. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

      Poor GWB…all of those WMDS in Iraq….and yet, not one showed up that the 9/11 Commission could verify…There were 55,000 emails she turned over and not one was damning evidence of a single thing. Maybe, you need to have a talk with your woman dominated household Dahveed…Your hatred for women grows…and don’t bother to hand me any more of your phony BS about how you so admire your Hillary like wife.

      1. David July 30, 2015

        Tsk tsk. Eleanore, there you go again with that penis envy problem. Have you considered therapy?

        1. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

          Why do you even bother posting? You are human excrement. You can’t stay on topic, offer nothing of real fact and overloaded your every sentence with male gender bias. So turdface…how about YOU get therapy? Or don’t nut cases like you ever admit you need serious professional mental help?

          I’m guessing being outnumbered by females in your home is one reason you are a male bitch?

          1. David July 31, 2015

            But Eleanor, the topic was Hillary. That is what I was talking about. You, though, want to hurl invective as if that is a substitute for presenting a cogent argument. And, you’re starting to let that penis envy problem of yours show up again. Have a blessed day.

          2. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

            No it wasn’t you dipshit. The topic is Hillary and how Senator Cory Booker is supported her candidacy. And if he is, you know the rest of the Dems are.

            Your GOP Gestapos are not going to get elected in 2016 for many reason that Hillary will:
            The GOP has already pissed off women, veterans, seniors and Hispanics. Not to mention college kids and those in the military.

            So..who do you jerkoffs have left to vote for you? Adelson? Trump? Charles and David Koch? Americans for Prosperity funded by 7 TX billionaires? The now broken Tea Party? With that kind of minority, you can’t win. All that remains is for a ball-less turd like you to admit that President Hillary Clinton is going to be the first female president. YOu and your boys?

            Down the toilet.

          3. David July 31, 2015

            There you go again, talking about my genitalia. Speaking of veterans (which I am one) and the military, how about those wonderful demorats not wanting our troops serving overseas to vote? Almost as good as the humanitarians working at Planned Parenthood. How much is a Lamborghini?

  2. Dominick Vila July 29, 2015

    For Hillary’s detractors, poor journalist judgment, inaccuracies, hyperbole, and over lies mean absolutely nothing. For them, Swift Boating proved to be an effective tactic worth trying again. They know that what people will remember six months from now is Donald calling Hillary a criminal, not the fact that Donald’s sources screwed up royally. The outcome of elections in the USA is determined by financial backing, and perceptions, not the record, the truth or a vision.

    1. 13factfinder July 29, 2015

      The Donald will be our next President because he don’t fall for the P.C. BS. and the people LOVE him!

      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

        No. The Donald won’t. This is a government. Trump wants to turn government into a business. You are a pretty stupid man if you have NO objections to becoming one of Trump’s low paid employees in his new White House business. The people in Atlantic City and New Jersey HATE Trump. He took our tax dollars for subsidies for his casinos and then bailed out and left thousands of employees out of work. Time for you to get a clue.

  3. 13factfinder July 29, 2015

    She had better hope Roger Goddell isn’t the prosecutor! He got Tom Brady for far less destroying evidence.

    1. johninPCFL July 29, 2015

      Better send him after Rice and Powell first. They turned over NONE of the emails from their time in office. They destroyed EVERYTHING!!

      1. 13factfinder July 29, 2015

        Only problem is; they are not running for office!

        1. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

          Doesn’t matter if they are running for office. If you commit the same crime you accuse Hillary of, you have NO crime. Sorry but you boys need to grow the hell up. You can’t throw Hillary in prison for doing precisely what Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Cheney, Libby and Bush did. Either it’s a crime for ALL or it is NO crime at ALL…as usual one more of your idiotic posts trying to nail Hillary to get rid of her so you can have a jackass GOP Gestapo destroy the country for another 8 more years.

          1. 13factfinder July 30, 2015

            “Perception” of a candidate (Hillary) can be their downfall. It’s not too late to get your Trump gear before it is all sold out again!

          2. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

            There are at least 10,000 people in NJ who will see to it that the Trump Clown never gets to the White House. After all, their experience is that he was their employer and they known what a dirty skankball he was and is.

          3. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

            Sorry, windblown toupees that hide a too long in the tooth Big Business boy’s bald pate is not my thing. But do help yourself. I understand Trump has a closet full of toupees for every occasion.

  4. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

    Women can be far more vengeful than any man ever can. If the only way to get rid of Hillary is some trumped up charge of misuse of email..How fast do the GOP Gestapo slugs think, former President Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, will see to it that the GOP answer a few unanswered questions of their own?

    Is there any politically naive American who can be so obtuse as to believe that Cheney and Halliburton NEVER used private emails to discuss Iraq supplies? Or that Nanny Rice didn’t ever send Bush any private emails regarding the Blackwater massacres in Baghdad? or that Karl Rove didn’t send private emails to Scooter Libby regarding the outing of the CIA agent?

    Some men in this country are pretty stupid if they think US women are falling for this trumped up BS. But, since women are fully aware that little boys can be spiteful to their own fault, we allow them to fall on their faces as often as they want.

    1. dpaano November 16, 2015

      We’ll never know about Cheney’s and Rice’s e-mails since they conveniently deleted them!

  5. 13factfinder July 30, 2015

    Trump is going to CRUSH everyone because he represents the true will of the people!

    1. dpaano November 16, 2015

      Unfortunately, there aren’t enough old white men to support the perceived “will of the people.” Trump will never win the GOP nomination.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker November 16, 2015

        Republican men today have no honor or integrity, much less a sense of accountability. Trying to reason with any of them is like talking to a mental patient in an institution…just doesn’t compute.

        1. dpaano November 16, 2015

          That’s why I gave up trying in most case.

  6. Eleanore Whitaker July 30, 2015

    The Donald has such a dirty past that once his GOP Gestapo rivals and in particular, his biggest, Charles and David Koch and Adelson, get on his back, Trump is history.

  7. 13factfinder July 30, 2015

    Trump/Cruz 2016!


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