15 Aug '16     home | previous

Journalists and "Pay to Play"

For days, flipping over to Fox News I've found talkers, like the substitute host for the Kelly File, trying too hard to criticize Hillary Clinton regarding the new email "pay-for-play" scandal. Some of the talk is emotional and sarcastic, as with "Judge" Janine Pirro, who appears to be a Trump supporter. And there is Trump himself, who has been talking up that scandal as more reason to vote for him over "crooked" Hillary.

Trump, meanwhile, tweets:

If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%.

A gullible Trump supporter was seen on television a day or two ago shaking his fist at news people, shouting and giving them the finger. NBC's Katy Tur was protected from a hostile Trump crowd that turned against her after Trump pointed to her and said: "What a lie. Katy Tur. What a lie it was. Third rate reporter. Remember that."

Trump has barred the Washington Post from his rallies. That's Trump's America. On the other hand, today the Washington Post exercises the good ol' American tradition of journalism by good editorial writing on the "pay to play" scandal – an improvement over what the Trump supporting people at Fox News. The paper's editorial board wrote:

Though it is an exaggeration to claim that Ms. Clinton ran her agency as a pay-to-play operation [while she was Secretary of State] the latest unearthed emails from the Clinton State Department nevertheless reveal that the ethical wall she was supposed to have built between herself and her family's organization was not impermeable enough.

An exaggeration indeed. The Post is bending over backward trying to be impartial.

A common comment from an anti-Clinton partisan that I find online describes the Clintons as criminals who have managed to avoid conviction because of a conspiracy. The writer complains of "lefties ... refusing to face the realities" and in full support for all things clinton, especially when it comes to advancing their criminal empire."

A Clinton operative, Cheryl Mills is involved. She served as deputy White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton, whom she defended during his 1999 impeachment trial. She served as Senior Adviser and Counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. She served as Counselor and Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton during her whole tenure as United States Secretary of State. The complaint against her made by anti-Clinton people is that she co-mingled the State Department with the Clinton Foundation.

Someone counters that while contributing to the Clinton Foundation she was acting as a private citizen, not a State Department employee, that she was free to volunteer to help whichever charity she wished, especially since she was not being compensated or it.

So where does the pay for play come in? Where was the corruption? A Clinton Foundation official, Doug Band, asked Cheryl Mills if she would connect a Clinton Foundation donor, Gilbert Chagourny, with a senior State Department official. No money or monetary gain was involved. What was wanted was a passing of information about the political situation in his native Lebanon. There was nothing that damaged diplomacy. According to the Washington Post, there was "not enough to launch a criminal investigation." But it gave opportunity to the Clinton haters to describe a gifts-for-access scheme going on – more BS.

It has given the so-called journalists at Fox a lot to talk about other than Trump's antics and the scandals at Fox News regarding sexual favors in exchange for employment advantages.

Joe Conason in The National Memo writes of Judicial Watch, "the ultra-right organization that has devoted the past few decades to legal harassment of the Clintons," pushing what it sees as a new scandal. With sarcasm, Conason writes:

It is now officially "scandalous" to recommend a capable young person for a job in the State Department, or to connect a potentially useful source of information about a Mideast trouble spot with an American diplomat.

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Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.