Friday, October 14, 2016

Let's talk Wikileaks. But let's talk accurately.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 7:32 AM

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The Trump campaign, both the candidate himself and running mate Mike Pence, are endeavoring to make the Wikileaks release of Clinton campaign e-mail the dominant theme in the remaining days of the campaign. The Washington Post explains how they are doing so inaccurately (dishonestly).  (Link corrected).

(Don't get me wrong. While it's relevant this material comes from a source intent on destroying Hillary Clinton and very likely was abetted by Russians, the content is fair game. Even if hacked illegally by U.S. enemies. Context and accurate quotation should be expected, however. Too many outlets are parroting the skewed way the Trump campaign is presenting the material.)

Example: Clinton has been derided  for invoking Abraham Lincoln in explaining how she'd remarked about a politician having different ways of interpreting issues in public and in private. The Post provides context:

Referring to a speech Clinton gave to the National Multi-Housing Council in 2013, partially reprinted in an email to top Clinton staffers, Pence said the Democratic nominee was disgracing the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

"She actually gave a speech in which she said, in order to be successful politically, you have to, quote, 'have a public and private position,' close quote, on the issues," Pence said. "When she was asked about that in the debate on Sunday night, did you see that? We got a little bit of a lecture about Abraham Lincoln or something. I couldn't follow it, either — I was like, 'Huh? Where are we going with that?'"

In fact, while Donald Trump had mocked the Lincoln reference on Sunday night, the point Clinton was making in that speech was a reference to the 2012 film "Lincoln," which at the time of the speech had just lost the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.

"If you saw the Spielberg movie, 'Lincoln,' and how he was maneuvering and working to get the 13th Amendment passed, [he] called one of my favorite predecessors, Secretary Seward, who had been the governor and senator from New York," Clinton said. "He told Seward, I need your help to get this done. And Seward called some of his lobbyist friends who knew how to make a deal, and they just kept going at it. I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be."
It is not a shock that a politician might speak publicly about the possible, rather than from the heart. Remember that other Clinton's famous remark about the perfect being the enemy of the good?

I'm reminded of the late Arkansas Gazette, properly memorialized for a brave stand in the great test of Arkansas history — school desegregation. That courageous stand began, many forget or don't know, with an editorial declaration that the newspaper believed in segregation. But it endorsed the rule of law.

Pence — and others — also have falsely said that Clinton revealed classified information in another private speech, the Post illustrates. Pence, too, has mischaracterized Clinton camp communication with the Justice Department on the e-mail matter.

It is important for mainstream media not to be misled. There remain ample wince-inducing moments for the Clinton camp in this rare unfettered access to internal political campaign e-mails.

Can you imagine what we might see if the Russians hacked into the Trump camp e-mails and provided them to Wikileaks for public distribution?

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