Tuesday, November 1, 2016

In the media narrative, Hillary Clinton is corrupt — so what the hell is Donald Trump?

The fallout from FBI Director James Comey‘s bombshell announcement last Friday that the agency had found emails potentially relating to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information continued to shake up the presidential race on Monday. There were hours of excited speculation about how it was going to affect the race and whether Comey’s reputation was damaged. And there was lots and lots of breathless punditry about the “email scandal” without anyone perceiving a necessity to define it, since it’s taken on a life of its own.

If you do need a primer on why that issue is so compelling to the news media, this piece by Matthew Yglesias at Vox is a good place to start. In this study of the two campaigns’ media coverage during their respective party conventions by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, Clinton’s email scandal was the single most reported issue, with CNN vastly outpacing any other network or newspaper in its overwhelming attention to the issue. And this was after the FBI had decided that no charges of mishandling classified information were warranted. Since Comey took it upon himself to publicly scold Clinton like an errant child, the news media naturally treated the event as if the words had come down from Sinai and condemned her as if she’d been found guilty anyway.

One of the major rationales for the ceaseless coverage of the issue is the prospect of a Clinton presidency burdened by the necessity of dealing with a full-blown witch hunt by Republican-led House committees investigating her alleged conflicts of interest. Oddly enough, the media can barely spare a moment to contemplate the overwhelming conflicts of interest and legal exposure that President Donald Trump would bring to the White House.

As Media Matters laid out on Monday, Trump is currently facing 75 different civil lawsuits for fraud, breach of contract, non-payment, sexual harassment, defamation, etc. He has three pending Trump University fraud suits and is suspected of perpetrating a “pay-for-play” scheme with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and possibly others to shut down a state investigation into the same fraudulent enterprise. Just last week, Trump was ordered to appear in federal court on Dec. 16 for a status conference in a civil lawsuit from a woman who accused him of raping her when she was 13. (According to the latest blockbuster investigative piece by Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek, Trump has destroyed emails and other documents in circumvention of court orders for decades.)

Everyone knows that last month Donald Trump was revealed on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, and that shortly thereafter women began to come forward by the dozen to confirm it. A number of such women are now represented by legal counsel, a problem with which President Trump would surely have to deal. (The Supreme Court set that precedent with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case.) One can only imagine how many others might come forward.

Read full story here http://www.salon.com/2016/11/01/in-the-media-narrative-hillary-clinton-is-corrupt-so-what-the-hell-is-donald-trump/

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