Remember when the media was supposed to be fair and impartial, working hard to speak truth to power, no matter which political party or partisan interest?
Hollywood loves to depict journalists as the ultimate heroes, fighting against the greedy power seekers in Washington. But as one of the latest email leaks makes clear, far too many of those supposedly hard-hitting journalists are actually pretty soft when their preferred candidate comes calling with cocktails and candidate access.
One of the latest email leaks breaks down the data revealed about the dark side of campaign efforts to co-opt the media.
As these internal documents demonstrate, a central component of the Clinton campaign strategy is ensuring that journalists they believe are favorable to Clinton are tasked to report the stories the campaign wants circulated.
At times, Clinton’s campaign staff not only internally drafted the stories they wanted published but even specified what should be quoted “on background” and what should be described as “on the record.”
One January 2015 strategy document — designed to plant stories on Clinton’s decision-making process about whether to run for president — singled out reporter Maggie Haberman, then of Politico, now covering the election for the New York Times, as a “friendly journalist” who has “teed up” stories for them in the past and “never disappointed” them.
The Clinton campaign seems to know which journalists they can manipulate and depend on to churn out propaganda that will be favorable to their message and their spin. The strategy document leaked in these emails laid out the goals and angles they wanted Haberman to take. And what happened? Did their strategy work. Back to The Intercept:
The following month, when she was at the Times, Haberman published two stories on Clinton’s vetting process; in this instance, Haberman’s stories were more sophisticated, nuanced, and even somewhat more critical than what the Clinton memo envisioned.
But they nonetheless accomplished the goal Clinton campaign aides wanted to fulfill of casting the appearance of transparency on Clinton’s vetting process in a way that made clear she was moving carefully but inexorably toward a presidential run.
I’m not surprised by this. In fact, the aftermath of the first presidential debate showed this operation in action. Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist laid out the facts and data about in-depth Alicia Machado stories that popped up immediately after Hillary Clinton mentioned her at the end of the first debate. There’s no way these stories could have been written in that short of a time, which makes it not very surprising when they mirrored Clinton campaign talking points.
We’ve always known this is how it works. But that doesn’t make it right, and that doesn’t make it any less disheartening or infuriating when we get cold hard evidence.