Sunday, March 8, 2015

David Brock: There's no scandal in Hillary Clinton's emails

The New York Times story about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account at the State Department is a perfect example of "gotcha" journalism, where reporters will take any bait the Republicans give them without proper vetting. The New York Times has a history of this. (Whitewater, anyone?)

The Times story suggests Secretary Clinton broke federal rules in relation to her email. But the Times' main source for this allegation says Clinton violated no laws. 

Yes, Clinton used a private email account to communicate while she was secretary of state. But so did secretaries of state before her. According to the State Department spokesman Marie Harf, John Kerry is the first secretary of state ever to rely primarily on official State Department email.

Clinton asks State to release emails: What you need to know

In October 2014, 18 months after Clinton left, the State Department was engaged in the process of updating its records preservation policies. The State Department asked every secretary of state dating back to Madeleine Albright to provide records, including emails, from their time in office. Clinton responded to the State Department's request for emails, providing the department with over 55,000 pages of emails. She did so months ago. Clinton has been fully transparent and has asked the State Department for these emails to be made public.

How do Republicans try to breathe new life into an old scandal? We've seen it time and time again. Here's how it works:

Step One: Republicans, with nothing in their arsenal to use against Hillary Clinton, selectively leak to reporters a "scandalous" tidbit -- often one that has been previously reported.

Step Two: The new media bites.

Step Three: The media hyperventilates and suffocates the airwaves with repetition of the same story.

Step Four: Upon further examination, the story falls apart.

Republican investigators seeking to hype the current Benghazi investigation leaked the issue to keep a dying investigation alive.

And once again, reporters bit. In the days since The New York Times posted its story, there have been dozens and dozens of stories written on the topic. Why? 

Because the Clintons are held to a double standard when it comes to media scrutiny. Their perfectly usual, above board behavior is spun as secretive and unaccountable -- while Republicans are left relatively unscathed.

Mitt Romney used his private email account to discuss political business, and when he left the governor's office, his administration destroyed records rather than turn them over to state archives. 

Scott Walker's County Executive's office used a secret email system, which investigators determined was being used to engage in campaign work on county time and to avoid public records disclosure laws. 

Mike Huckabee's office had files, including emails, cleaned and physically destroyed, including "travel records, calendars, call logs, and emails." 

Why hasn't their behavior been scrutinized over and over again? Because their last name isn't Clinton.

In the end, all we are left with is the benign fact that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account at the State Department. This isn't even a revelation -- it has been known for years. Looks like the Republicans wasted their breath, once again, for nothing.

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