Press Corruption

Obviously, the story that the media have been strongly supportive of Hillary Clinton and strongly critical of Donald Trump is a classic example of a “dog bites man” story.  This preference for Democrats over Republicans has been true for at least the last 40 years in which I have been following these matters, although it seems stronger now than it used to be.

What is interesting (although not exactly new) is that emails are being released about this corruption and the lack of shame about or consequence for these actions.  Consider the most recent release.  The Bill Clinton – Loretta Lynch meeting on an airplane during the investigation of Hillary Clinton was a big problem for the Clinton campaign.  The inappropriateness of such a meeting was so obvious that it suggested some kind of conspiratorial action.   So how did the press respond to the action?  At the time, I thought that the media downplayed it as much as possible.  It had to be covered, but the strategy was to cover it as briefly as possible and to put it to bed quickly.  This appears to be the typical strategy for covering stories damaging to the Democratic Party, such as the shooting of Steve Scalise by a Bernie Saunders supporter.   

It is therefore interesting to see an email that, on its face, suggests exactly this strategy concerning the Clinton — Lynch meeting.  Washington Post Reporter Matt Zapotosky wrote to the Justice Department:  

Any chance one of you could give me a call for another, hopefully quick, conversation on this AG-Clinton meeting? My editors are still pretty interested in it and I’ m hoping to put it to rest by answering just a few more questions about how the meeting came about-who approached who, how did they realize they were in the same place.  

Seemingly, a smoking gun.

Of course, it is possible to offer some explanations.  Perhaps Zapotosky was playing the Justice Department people. He did not really want to put the story “to rest,” but just wanted more information.  I suppose that could be the case. An examination of Zapotosky’ s reporting on the matter might help to clarify his email.  

But doesn’t the Washington Post and journalist ethics owe us some explanation about this.  I have not heard anyone mention that Zapotosky should be fired.  One might be excused for believing that pursuing a non-news agenda of helping to elect the Democratic candidate should be a firing offense.  If one believes that termination is too strong, then perhaps the Post should apologize to its readers and should put Zapotosky on leave for a period.  A slap on the wrist, but still something.  Yet, that has not happened.  

Of course, the Post could explain that Zapotosky is really innocent of the charge, because he was playing the Justice Department.  Again, that would be interesting.  But I’m not holding my breath.

The fact that the Post does not see any reason to offer an explanation tells us something about what is regarded as ethical and embarrassing in the press these days.

Reader Discussion

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on August 09, 2017 at 08:24:22 am

Trump called it. WaPo IS fake news.

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Mark Pulliam
on August 09, 2017 at 11:07:06 am

Was there some allegation here that the Washington Post printed falsehoods?

Or has the Library of Law and Liberty now embraced the idea that we should judge whether news is fake or not based on whether it conforms to our own (or perhaps Trump's) political preferences?

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Image of nobody.really
on August 09, 2017 at 11:27:08 am

Seemingly, a smoking gun.

Indeed it is. Wictioinary defines “put to rest” as follows:

put to rest (third-person singular simple present puts to rest, present participle putting to rest, simple past and past participle put to rest)

To settle or finish, especially a question or discussion.

Let's try to put this question to rest once and for all.


So here we have a story that the news editors at the Washington Post told a reporter to go get answers to a few more questions on a story. The reporter wanted to resolve the factual questions in order to get them off his back and put the matter to rest.

So I quite agree, this is a smoking gun: It demonstrates a kind of galloping paranoia that has enveloped our political discourse.

Hey, Rappaport, didja hear that the Washington Post was finally able to report that the secret identity of Deep Throat was Mark Felt? I guess they finally put that mystery to rest … OOPS! Another smoking gun!

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on August 09, 2017 at 13:58:03 pm

Now it's official, it can never again be said, that nobody gave the Lynch-Clinton meeting less coverage than the Post...thanks for putting this to rest nobody...

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Paul Binotto
on August 09, 2017 at 14:50:07 pm

Oh, that's good.

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Image of nobody.really
on August 09, 2017 at 17:17:19 pm

another fine example of *wordsmith-ery*. Nobody at her best!

BTW: time stamp indicates that you posted at 11:27. In my neck of the woods, we don;t raise the first glass until at 12:00 noon!

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Image of gabe
on August 11, 2017 at 13:56:28 pm

By this metric, the press has ALWAYS been "corrupt." From James Callender's scandal sheets (Election 1800) to the screed of Andrew Breitbart, Sinclair, and Salem, news outlets have always advanced owners'/editors' points of view. The corporate media gave us a disastrous elective resource war in lraq, and Walter Cronkite got us out of another disastrous one in Vietnam. The dead hand of William Randolph Hearst has never been more active than it is today, but it never really went away.

lt is difficult to imagine that Bill Clinton didn't try to influence the criminal investigation of his wife. But it is not per se improper for a reporter to contact his sources to clarify questions raised by editors. Getting Justice on the record is like deposing a witness before trial. ln my journalistic endeavors, l did this all the time (and in a 1-party state, l recorded the conversations to protect myself). A reporter's job is to get it right.

l'm totally missing the purported foul here.

lf there's a foul--and there is, imho--it is in the editors' neglect of this story. But our corporate media neglects a lot of stories, whether it is ABC or Fox. l concur w/NRS: Mike is totally up a tree here, and should probably stick with ConLaw.

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Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.