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.
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.