Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Clinton rules are in play again as AP blows the story

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 12:51 PM

click to enlarge WOW! BUT WRONG: AP's distillation of its reporting on Hillary Clinton sounds terrible. It just happens to be wrong. She met with thousands of people as secretary state. As yet, nobody's demonstrated improper favors extended to any contributors.
  • WOW! BUT WRONG: AP's distillation of its reporting on Hillary Clinton sounds terrible. It just happens to be wrong. She met with thousands of people as secretary state. As yet, nobody's demonstrated improper favors extended to any contributors.

As Gene Lyons has written several times previously, the Clinton rules are in play again this election cycle. It is not enough to fairly report the interplay of contributors, friends and networking in their personal, charitable and political lives. No, brows must be furrowed, suggestive questions must be raised and surely a Republican (Mike Pence most recently) will call for a special prosecutor to go searching for evidence of criminality that does not exist.

Vox offers one of several good explainers on what was missing in the AP collation of Clinton Foundation contributors and Secretary of State Clinton's work into something far more than the evidence supports. Says Vox:

The basic allegation here, that the majority of the people Clinton met with as secretary of state were Clinton Foundation donors, is remarkable. And the implication that the investigation that unearthed this striking fact has also revealed "ethics challenges" is important. The many Americans who already have a negative view of Clinton will see these facts ricocheting through their feeds and appearing on Fox chyrons and will further entrench their negative views.

Only a relatively small handful of people will actually read the story from beginning to end and see that there’s no there there.
One example is the starkly inaccurate illustration AP devised to tout the story, shown above. But there's more. No finding of misdeeds; blowing up nothing into something; finding Hillary Clinton was somehow wrong for biting a hand that fed Bill Clinton.

John Brummett, on-line in the Democrat-Gazette today —  by no means flattering of Hillary Clinton's failure to present a better appearance — has a good analysis, too.

I have my own conflict of interest as I've said repeatedly, a daughter who works at the Clinton Foundation. But I also pointed out this week that pay-to-play (giving money in hopes of friendly access) is a daily fact of life in the political world. There,  the money passes in a much more transactionally direct fashion. No messy good deeds in Africa arise as a go-between.

I had to laugh when I read a former Republican aide to a Republican congressman breathlessly Tweet that AP had reported that Hillary Clinton had met (at a big New York Stock Exchange breakfast with a bunch of other people in one AP-cited instance) with people who'd contributed to his foundation. If only, I thought, the public had access to the daily calendar of the former boss of this so-shocked aide and that AP would  put a team of reporters collating it with campaign contributors. For a better comparisoin, they'd also have to match the calendar with representatives of the money bags who finance dark money operations, such as the one that pumped $800,000 into electing Tom Cotton. Too bad. Dark money contributors aren't disclosed as contributors to the Clinton Foundation are disclosed. Congressmen would never share their calendars with you. 

I recognize the futility of changing a single mind with any of this. The Clinton scandal story line is a permanent fact of political life (and, yes, they created some of their own problems.) 

Kenneth Starr is out of work. Some of his former deputies are now federal judges for their participation in his pursuit of the Clintons, but there are more surely ready to join another special team of prosecutors.

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