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Hullabaloo


Monday, October 12, 2015

 
"That's called reporting"

by digby

This is rich. Politico reports on NY Times editor Dean Baquet views on the paper's Clinton coverage which I think fair-minded people can all agree has been pretty egregious. (Exhibit A. Exhibit B.)
Responding to accusations that the Times is unfair to Clinton and her campaign, Baquet acknowledged the Times' screw-up on a recent story — which the Times corrected — that erroneously claimed a criminal inquiry was being sought into Clinton's email usage during her time as secretary of state. 
While that story "fueled" criticism about the Times' Clinton coverage, said Baquet during an interview on CNN, "We're aggressive on all the candidates." He likewise emphasized the breadth of the Times' Clinton coverage. 
"I will also point out that we also broke the story today about dissension within the Benghazi committee," he said. "We also did the most deeply reported story about who did what in the whole Benghazi fiasco that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador, which I think the Clinton people would say was fair and did not point a finger at her. So I think if you add all that up, and add up the daily coverage of her, we're not unfair. You have to look at the full picture. And you have to look at the fact that when we screw up, we own up to it." 
Defending the Times' Clinton reporting has become a familiar activity for Baquet.“If you look at this reasonably, there is no institutional animus toward the Clintons. I don’t buy it,” he told The Daily Beast last month for an article titled, "Is The New York Times at War with Hillary?" 
During a June appearance at Hunter College with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., a woman in the audience said to him during the Q and A  portion of the event, "I'd like to know why The New York Times signed an agreement with Peter Schweizer, right-winger, to promote his book," a reference to "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich" 
[...] 
...We did not sign an agreement. That's been mischaracterized. We took information—" 
"From a right-wing crackpot like him?" 
"We take information from all kinds of crackpots. That's called reporting. You take information, you check it, you use it, you use what's accurate..."
(That woman also claimed that reporter Amy Chozick was a right winger which Baquet denied and about which I have no opinion.)

But the fact is that taking information from anti-Clinton crackpots is journalistic malpractice by definition. It's gotten them into so much trouble in the past you'd think they would have learned their lesson. They are clearly eager to believe any breathless accusation and simply cannot be trusted to verify the facts properly, as that "criminal referral" episode proves. They need to hire someone to police their emotional need to believe any silly bullshit the Republicans throw over the transom. They aren't going to be the Woodward and Bernstein of Clinton scandals, certainly not on the basis of wingnut oppo BS.  It just makes them look like idiots over and over again.

It's true that this piece today about what goes on inside the Benghazi committee is an excellent expose of the decadence and dissolution among the staffers as well as their clear political intentions. Good for them.  One does wonder if Kevin Mccarthy hadn't opened his big mouth and this whistleblower hadn't come forward if anyone would have looked this deeply into it.  The committee has been around a long while, longer than any committee in House history, doling out its little tid-bits of juicy stuff for DC reporters to get all excited about.

Sure, it's a crack-pot committee but they take information from all kinds of crackpots...

.