Sunday, September 4, 2016

No one's working on Labor Day, including reporters

Labor Day: the last long weekend of the summer, and lots of people, especially white and affluent, are taking it easy.  None easier than the press corps covering the Clinton campaign, who have dropped any effort at reporting, instead contenting themselves with passing on leaks and talking points from anti-Clinton extremists.

Don't believe us?  Let's look at something hacks covering Hillary Clinton seem allergic to: the evidence.

In today's New York Times, right there on page 1, is shocking news about the Democratic nominee: she's raising money for her campaign.  Sit down before we pass along the rest of the story: she's raising money from people who have money to donate.  In other words, rich people.  If you haven't already collapsed from the vapors, it turns out that some of these rich people are her friends.  Yes, politicians have rich friends.  Just like some of the journalists we've met on South Beach.

That was the whole story.  Must be why the reporters were too busy to cover trivia like Clinton's proposed mental health plan and interview experts in the field to determine if it would really work.

But the scriveners at The Washington Post were working not one whit harder over the weekend.  There Karen Tumulty told us who was to blame for the 20-year right-wing program of vilifying Hillary Clinton.  If you guessed Hillary Clinton, you won!

In this version of history, it all goes back to 1993, when in response to shoddy stories about a non-existent scandal called Whitewater, she refused to release her family's financial records.  If only she had, according to veteran Republican conventional wisdom dispenser David Gergen, all those people who launched one crusade after another to bring down the Clintons would have given up and gone back to quilting bees.  Oh, and Bill Clinton wanted to, but mean, paranoid Hillary said no. 

That's why the Clinton Foundation “scandal” is more than just hot air and smoke, she says.  In support of this, uh, thesis, Ms. Tumulty rolled over on her chaise and quoted a source of unimpeachable integrity: “You can’t tell where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. Big donors get all the access, and that’s what this is about.”  What ever happened to that source?  Our non-working reporter is willing to tell us that he's now the deputy campaign manager for Ms. Clinton's principal opponent.

The funny thing about this lazy compendium is that those reading it will be persuaded that Hillary Clinton is right: there is an organized 20-year campaign to drive her and her husband from power.  If only she had turned over those bank records in 1993!

Speaking of long lazy summer days at The Washington Post, veteran hack Chris Cillizza got a head-start on his long weekend by filing a column replete with excerpts from the FBI notes of their interrogation of Hillary Clinton.  Leaving aside the propriety of the FBI opining on and releasing documents related to an investigation closed without criminal referral (none), Cillizza helpfully circles the juiciest tidbits, viz:

However, in the paragraph noted above he didn't find it interesting that, while Clinton was Secretary of state, “there was no restriction on the use of personal email accounts for official business.”

Wait, WHAT?

If there was no restriction on using private email accounts for official business, then the entire matter of her emails goes up in a puff of smoke.  And Chris and his fellow scandal-floggers can take the whole weekend off.

The whole week before Labor Day was relaxing at McClatchy's DC bureau, which has come a long way in the wrong direction since, in its previous incarnation as Knight-Ridder, it questioned the official version put out by the Bush Administration to justify its Iraq adventure even before the debacle unfolded.

They tried to gin up a twofer non-story combining emails and the Clinton Foundation.  The article describes an email released pursuant to a suit by longtime Clinton hellhound Judicial Watch that allegedly should have been turned over by Clinton to the Department of State.

The email was from a Foundation donor asking Hillary to make sure that women's issues were adequately addressed at a forthcoming Foundation conference.  In other words, it had nothing to do with Clinton's job as Secretary of State and accordingly was not an official record that had to be preserved.  It was as private as Bill asking Hillary to make sure that the laundry bleached his shirts.

We can't stand to watch political coverage on TV anymore so for all we know, the same lazy hazy crazy days of summer mind-set prevails there too.  We did pick up one data point today though.  While trying to get a weather report this morning, we did hear Martha Raddatz's interview with Tim Kaine on Disney's This Week with Michael Strahan's Sidekick.  Sure enough Labor Day lassitude had struck Ms. Raddatz.

Almost the entire interview was taken up with questions about (1) emails, (2) the Clinton Foundation, (3) why she hadn't held a news conference in the last nine months (she had), and just to show that Martha isn't just interested in recycling past GOP talking points, (4) whether Clinton was responsible for Putin's invasion of Crimea.  The Vice Presidential nominee, his faced contorted by disgust, parried all of these ridiculous attempts without difficulty, thus allowing Martha to continue her weekend unencumbered by any need to do her job.

Speaking of avoiding heavy lifting, like reporting or thinking, where was Maureen Dowd while all this was happening?  No column today.  She must be on vacation.  The question is: on vacation from what?

– A.J.L.

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