Media Bias: The Washington Post led its Monday paper with a story titled “How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root.” What it revealed was that, left to the mainstream press, the story might never have hit the ground.
No one reading the Post’s 5,000-word account can come away thinking that the Clinton email scandal is unimportant.
The FBI now has 147 agents chasing down leads. A key person involved in the scandal has been granted immunity. Hillary Clinton – who has already been caught in several lies – might be questioned by federal agents. There are fairly obvious violations of the law, even if it’s just those governing record-keeping. And there were, and continue to be, concerns that national security secrets were compromised, or at least casually disregarded.
The story details, for example, the many high-level security concerns that officials had about her use of a private BlackBerry to do her emailing, to say nothing of her homebrew email server.
Clinton got a warning from a State Department security official in March 2009 that “any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails, and exploiting calendars.”
Clinton responded that she “gets it,” but as the Post reports, she “kept using her private BlackBerry – and the basement server.”
The Post deserves credit for devoting so much space to summing the entire saga up. And for exposing something the reporter and his editors probably never intended: The media’s negligence as the scandal unfolded.
While the New York Times was the first national media outlet to write about Clinton’s use of a private email account last March, the Post summation makes clear that the mainstream press had almost nothing to do with uncovering the truth or advancing the story.
* The Post notes that it was a nonprofit group called CREW that first cracked the story open, when the State Department responded to its FOIA request for Clinton’s State Department email addresses by saying “no records responsive to your request.”
* The much-ballyhooed House Select Committee on Benghazi discovered her use of a private email account after demanding copies of her email traffic around the time of the attack on the embassy.
* Private cybersecurity firm Venafi discovered how Clinton’s email server had been unencrypted for months. The company “took it upon itself,” the Post notes, to publish its findings on its own website.
* The public release of all Clinton’s State Department emails resulted not from pressure from NBC News, CNN or the New York Times, but from a FOIA request by a startup online news site called Vice News.
* Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, has been more aggressive than any media outlet in going after Clinton’s records, and as a result uncovered several damning emails, including a chain of emails showing how her staff was “taking steps that would help her circumvent” Clinton’s own promise of openness and transparency.
* And where has the “telling truth to power” press been during all this time? Sure, they’ve been passively sharing information when it came out – although often grudgingly and dismissively. But there are few elements of it that reporters themselves were responsible for breaking.
Normally, with a scandal this juicy and involving a would-be president, reporters would be falling over themselves to “advance the story.” But “normal” never seems to apply when a scandal involves a Democrat.
The FBI has 147 investigators focused on the Clinton email case. One wonders how many investigative reporters the New York Times, the Post, and all the other big media outlets have.