Hillary’s emails and the blame on liberals

Much like Drum actually made his name as a blogger way back when during the controversy over George W. Bush’s National Guard service by being exacting with the facts of the situation while others wrote about what they thought they knew, he’s likewise played a similar role and been great on the actual reality of Hillary’s emails.

I really like this post that takes a pretty thorough look at the timeline and the key contexts and comes down placing a fair amount of blame on liberals.  And, I think he’s right.  Now, to be clear, this is very much the work of Republicans in Congress (and Comey) making a mountain out of a molehill and the media way too credulously going along, “scandal!”

Image result for dug squirrel

(Sorry, I watched “Up” with my sick daughter yesterday)

First, Drum’s nickel summary of what was going on:

So here’s what we’ve got. Clinton used a private server for her unclassified emails. However, that doesn’t provide any reason to think she was any more careless about discussing classified information than any other secretary of state. Nevertheless, Republicans used the excuse of the Benghazi investigation to demand an inspector general’s audit of her emails. The intelligence community, naturally, concluded that Clinton’s archives contained thousands of discussions of classified programs. They would most likely conclude the same thing if they audited the email
account of any ranking State Department official. It’s just a fact of life that State and CIA disagree about this stuff.

Comey certainly knew this, and he also knew that Clinton had done nothing out of the ordinary. However, in an attempt to appease congressional Republicans, who were sure to go ballistic when their hopes of putting Clinton in the dock failed yet again, he held a press conference where he called her actions “extremely careless.” Then, three months later, with absolutely no justification, he announced that more emails had been discovered—and he announced it in the most damaging possible way.

This is the meat of the whole affair.

But part of the reason the media way-too-credulously went along is because liberals allowed them to:

The bottom line is simple: There was never any real reason for either the IG investigations or the FBI investigation. And in the end, the FBI found nothing out of the ordinary—just the usual State-CIA squabbling. Nevertheless, under pressure from Republicans, Comey spent a full year on the investigation; reported its conclusions in the most damaging possible way; and then did it again two weeks before the election. Because of this, Clinton lost about 2 percent of the vote, and the presidency.

Liberals should have defended her with gusto from the start. There was never anything here and no evidence that Clinton did anything seriously wrong. And yet we didn’t. Many liberals just steered clear of the whole thing. Others—including me sometimes—felt like every defense had to contain a series of caveats acknowledging that, yes, the private server was a bad idea, harumph harumph. And some others didn’t even go that far. The result was that in the public eye, both liberals and conservatives were more or less agreeing that there was a lot of smoke here. So smoke there was. And now Donald Trump is a month away from being president. [emphasis mine]

Yes, yes, yes!  The media looks to elites from both parties to shape it’s coverage (the indexing theory), and with Democrats offering little pushback, reporters were really able to run with this whole “cloud” of scandal and the idea that Hillary must have done something seriously wrong.  I’m not sure who on the right would have made for a good analogy, but I suspect Republicans would have circled the wagons in an effective manner if it were their likely standard-bearer who were being attacked in such a way.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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