Before going forward, let me just start off by saying that I’m not here to bash the New York Times. For the most part, I think they do decent work. However, they sometimes dabble in “journalism” that seems to teeter on the edge of being more tabloid nonsense than credible reporting.
A perfect example of this is an article they published recently concerning Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, her emails and potential links to unethical behavior while she was Secretary of State.
The title of this article is: Emails Raise New Questions About Clinton Foundation Ties to State Dept.
Obviously a headline like that is going to get a lot of attention. As the New York Time clearly knows, the majority of people who saw it probably didn’t read anything more than the headline. But they also knew that a headline such as that would create the website traffic and viral outreach most media sites rely upon to generate revenue.
Naturally, several right-wing websites ran with this story (ironic considering the NYT is usually a source that’s bashed by every conservative media outlet in this country) and, instantly, “more evidence” was introduced to the public that supposedly showed Clinton used her foundation as a pay-for-play scheme while she was Secretary of State.
If you actually read the article, this “story” doesn’t “raise new questions” about her emails or the foundation. All it really does is cover a situation where someone linked to the foundation attempted to get diplomatic passports, but was ultimately denied.
This “story” isn’t even as juicy as that sounds.
What this NYT article centered around was an aide to Bill Clinton reaching out to an aide for Hillary Clinton in 2009, seeking approval for diplomatic passports as part of the former president’s trip to North Korea to negotiate the release of two Americans. The request was denied by the State Department because the individuals making this request didn’t qualify for diplomatic passports.
There was also a mention of an email sent by Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, who requested a face-to-face at an event Hillary Clinton would be attending with sources saying that the “meeting” centered around Mr. Liveris offering to let her husband use his plane for his trip to North Korea.
And that’s the whole “story” that prompted the New York Times to publish an article suggesting “new questions” have been raised about the Clinton Foundation’s links to the State Department. An aide to her husband once sought diplomatic passports as part of a team of people who were going on a trip to help secure the release of two Americans being held in North Korea, and a donor offered to let the former president use his plane.
So, what “new questions” does any of this raise? Are some people so desperate to attack Hillary Clinton that they’re going to turn emails related to a trip meant to help rescue two Americans into “proof” that there was some sort of “pay-for-play” scheme going on between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation?
That question is rhetorical because the answer is simple: Of course they are — because anti-Clinton people are so pathetically desperate to bring her down that they’ll use practically anything to try to slander her name.
But I found this NYT article to be a perfect example of the absurdity of the anti-Clinton conspiracy witch hunt. It’s a “story” based upon emails that ultimately concluded the State Department denied a very simple request by aides to a former president who was working on freeing hostages from North Korea.
I think Steven Benen at MSNBC summed it up best:
I haven’t the foggiest idea. On the list of not-so-controversial Clinton controversies, this is probably the thinnest and least compelling. With some of the others, one can fairly say there’s smoke but no fire. The new report in the Times, however, is an unlit match.
If the routine revelations “raise new questions,” no one seems able to point out exactly what those lines of inquiry might be.
If you ask me, all this article from the NYT does is show an example where someone linked to the foundation attempted to get a favor from the State Department — but was quickly and soundly denied. So, as Mr. Benen wrote, if this article raises “new questions,” no one seems to know what they are.
However, all this article actually did was prove how ridiculous and baseless the overwhelming majority of these anti-Clinton conspiracies and attacks have been.