I know it’s popular to attack the mainstream media, but I usually give them the benefit of the doubt because I don’t really blame them — I blame us. As consumers, cable news networks (and practically all media entities that generate revenue) are only giving us what we tell them we want — via website traffic, page clicks, TV ratings, video views and whatever “goes viral.” We can bash them all we want, but a large part of the “business” of news in the 21st century is based upon revenue — which is determined by what consumers are consuming.
However, there are times where I see the media trying desperately to make something into a story because they need to create drama. Why? Well, quite frankly, because drama sells.
That brings me to the increasing push by practically every major media outlet in this country to make the Clinton Foundation into some “controversy” for Hillary Clinton.
The biggest example of this came via the AP, usually a very credible source of information, after it sent out this tweet:
BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 23, 2016
Think about those words for a moment: More than half of those who met with Clinton as Cabinet Secretary gave money to the Clinton Foundation.
Based on just those words, if true, that’s an incredibly alarming “fact” that almost certainly “proves” that Hillary Clinton used the foundation as an instrument to take bribes in some sort of pay-for-play scheme while she was Secretary of State.
However, the AP story is complete nonsense.
The article says that Clinton met with 85 of 154 people who were all donors to the foundation.
Now, ponder that for a moment. She was Secretary of State for four years (1472 days) — but only met with 154 people? Using those numbers, that means she only took meetings every 10 days or so.
But that can’t be accurate, can it? No, it can’t, because it’s not.
As Matthew Yglesias at Vox pointed out:
To generate the 154 figure, the AP excluded from the denominator all employees of any government, whether US or foreign. Then when designing social media collateral, it just left out that part, because the truth is less striking and sharable.
Even so, the number 154 is preposterously low, as Clinton would routinely meet dozens of civil society leaders, journalists, and others on any one of her many foreign trips as secretary of state.
But regardless of that, the AP’s social media claims are simply false — ignoring well over 1,000 official meetings with foreign leaders and an unknown number of meetings with domestic US officials.
In other words, the AP sent out a tweet pushing this idea that over half of all her meetings as Secretary of State were with people who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, while ignoring the overwhelming majority of the meetings she had during her four years at the State Department.
Furthermore, the article that triggered the tweet doesn’t produce any actual evidence of any unethical or alarming behavior by Clinton. As Vox‘s Yglesias wrote:
What kind of shady dealings did the AP’s exhaustive analysis turn up? Aside from an occasional assist with acquiring a visa, or meeting with executives from a cosmetics company to talk about ways to curb gender-based violence in South Africa, not much. If Hillary Clinton was abusing the power of her office by running an international multi-million dollar pay-for-play scheme, she did a lousy job of it.
That’s it. With all of AP’s resources — clearly looking for a “big anti-Clinton” story that would make headlines — they dug into the foundation, tracked all these meetings, and they found next to nothing that shows where she used her position as Secretary of State in any sort of pay-for-play scheme linked to her foundation.
But they’re not the only ones. Over the last few days, on all the major cable news networks, they’ve been doing their best to make these right-wing conspiracies about the Clinton Foundation into a legitimate “controversy.”
Why? Well, because they need to.
Currently we’re in a bit of a “down time” for the general election. We’re still a few weeks away from the first debate, and there’s really not a whole lot else going on besides the usual campaign stops, rallies and events.
The main reason why the media is desperate to make the Clinton Foundation conspiracies into legitimate news stories is because, like I said earlier, they need the drama.
Over the last few weeks Trump’s campaign has been imploding, causing Clinton to take a commanding lead in practically every national poll — which is really bad for business. Hillary Clinton strolling into November with all polls indicating she’s headed for an easy victory over Donald Trump is the last thing these media outlets want to see happen. They need drama; they want drama; they’re fueled by drama; and they’ll do their best to fabricate it if it’s not occurring organically.
Which is exactly what we’re seeing now.
Benghazi didn’t stick, almost nobody cares about her emails, the pro-Bernie backlash against her has almost completely died down and no credible journalist is going to come anywhere near this ridiculous nonsense being pushed by conservatives concerning her health. The only real “thing” the media has right now (other than to discuss her emails for the millionth time) is to try to make the Clinton Foundation into some sort of “controversy” that makes the 2016 general election much more dramatic.
When you get right down to it, as the AP’s story proved, there’s next to nothing there.
Did she take meetings with some Clinton Foundations donors? Yes, she did. But just because someone might have donated to the foundation, then requested a meeting, doesn’t mean that Clinton owes them anything.
Not only that, but with the hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours that have been spent by those individuals who are desperately trying to find some sort of “smoking gun” controversy linked to Hillary Clinton, including this foundation, if there were really something there — they would have found it by now.
All we have is bad optics and media pundits debating how things look as opposed to discussing the actual fact that there’s been no “shocking” controversy linked to her time at the State Department and donations made to the Clinton Foundation, even though millions have been spent trying to find one.
This is nothing more than the media realizing that if they don’t create some sort of drama — and soon — they’re going to lose a whole lot of revenue this election.
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