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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Unraveling the conspiracy

by digby

There seems to be a tiny insurrection happening over at the Washington Post today. First, we have Dave Weigel once again pointing out that the press is full of it on the Clinton emails.  And none other than Richard Cohen calls out the bogus Benghazi Committee.

Weigel writes:

If you did something productive with your Sunday — if you went to church, took a nature hike, composted leaves from the back yard, concocted an alibi for the cops — you may have seen only the headlines about Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Meet the Press" interview. According to those headlines, she dismissed the unkillable scandal over her use of a private e-mail server as a "conspiracy theory." A sample:

Politico: "Hillary Clinton: 'Another conspiracy theory' "

The Guardian: "Hillary Clinton dismisses 'conspiracy theory' amid email server controversy"

Townhall: "Hillary Laughs Again, Dismisses Email Scandal as a 'Conspiracy Theory' "

These headlines are true, insofar as how Clinton used the phrase "conspiracy theory" as she answered one of Chuck Todd's questions. "She is now blaming a ‘conspiracy theory’ for her sinking poll numbers," grumbled a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. The "conspiracy theory" quote was even quickly tweeted by the opposition research wizards at America Rising.

What hasn't been mentioned: Clinton was actually calling back to something Todd said at the start of the interview. "I know there's always conspiracy theories out there," he said knowingly, referring to rumors that Clinton had sat down with him only after some subjects were barred from discussion. He then made absolutely clear: "There are no limitations to this interview."

Clinton agreed — "as far as I know, that's true" — and plowed through seven e-mail questions. Todd wound up the eighth question by asking whether the Democratic presidential front-runner could "respond to an alternative explanation that has sort of been circulating." Only then did Clinton laugh: "Another conspiracy theory?"

None of this will matter when it comes to the way Clinton is covered, and I already have designated a section of my inbox for the complaints that I am carrying her water here.

No doubt. I just wish all these people who are so sure of Clinton's imminent defeat (it's a matter of days, I'd guess, before we start hearing the calls for her to drop out --- Democrats always do that in primaries no matter who is running) could explain this:

But whatever.

Meanwhile, we have Cohen stating the obvious:

If Clinton were more forthright, she might — my guess here — admit that she used a private server because she didn’t want her every thought to wind up in the hands of her political enemies. As if to prove the truth of the cliche that even paranoids have enemies, that’s precisely what’s happened. The Benghazi committee has the e-mails. But e-mails to her daughter, her husband, her staff about personal matters, biting comments, maybe even an insult or two ought to remain private. Even public officials are entitled to private thoughts.

Benghazi has become a Republican fixation. It is mentioned with utmost solemnity, virtual code for treason or something close to it. It is no longer an event, a debacle and a tragedy, but a totem: Something went wrong. Someone’s at fault. Why not Clinton? In the latest Republican debate, Carly Fiorina, she of the hallucinatory abortion procedure, accused Clinton of having a “track record of lying about Benghazi.” Yeah, sure. But give us an example, please.

He is being too kind to the press. They are leading this as much as following it, gleefully going after Clinton on this nonsense, a group of nasty boys and mean girls competing for who can finally take her down. (If you are on twitter you can feel the excitement when a new "revelation" is published by one them from the flurry of breathless tweets and retweets and snarky bon mots that go with them.) It's obvious that it's taken on a life of its own with the pursuit itself becoming the point.

Still, it's a good thing to at least have a few reporters and columnists writing about the phenomenon itself. Simply holding up a mirror might have some effect at least around the edges. This is a sickness in our media landscape and anyone who thinks it's confined to the Clintons should ask Al Gore and John Kerry how this worked out for them. Certainly any Democrat who is cackling with delight that Hillary Clinton is being skewered with this sort of nonsense should stop and think about whether it's a good idea to empower the media and the Republicans this way. You never know who might find himself or herself on the receiving end of it.

Update: More insurrection: