Monday, July 27, 2015

The Facts Aren't Important to Conservatives, Hillary Edition

Editor-in-Chief Dean Baquet: We can't be held responsible if someone lied to us. Really?

The New York Times botched a Hillary Clinton email story but good, spent a few days trying to clean it up without saying, "Boy, did we screw up!" while managing to look to conservatives like the Clinton campaign had editing rights to the paper. Any way you look at it, the Times has done better (though its Iraq War run-up reporting was seriously underwhelming in the accuracy department).

Conservatives -- again, for the umpteenth time! -- thought they had scored the big one on Hillary, and when they didn't, they went ballistic with the Paper of Record, not because it got the facts wrong and fixed them after the Clinton campaign called them on it. No, conservatives went ballistic because now the facts weren't so damning (possibly there is not there there, for the umpteenth time!).
S.E. Cupp is a conservative commentator who unfurls often bareknuckled punditry on various programs across CNN programming. On Friday afternoon she was on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” doing what conservative commentators do, which is to stick it to the New York Times. “I think it’s worth pointing out that we are all talking about it notably because the New York Times changed their headline, their lead and the link to this story…Because Hillary asked them to,” she said in a segment with Tapper and former White House strategist Dan Pfeiffer. “The New York Times re-published the Pentagon papers against the will of Richard Nixon and had to go to the Supreme Court to do it. It is not the New York Times that changed their headline back.”
Now, S.E.'s problem is that the New York Times did actually blow it: There was not and probably never will be a criminal inquiry into Hillary's private email because some anonymous source or another either lied or got their story seriously wrong. That's when serious journalists with, er, strong ethics go, "Oh, sorry, Hillary, the facts don't bear out our accusations," and call it a day. Conservatives find an article with actual facts in them to be a dish served cold:
Speaking of the NYT story in question, Hillary can feel lucky because she apparently has Wikipedia-esque “edit this story” capability for Times articles her campaign’s not entirely happy with:
The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive report about a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes.
The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.”
That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”
The Times also changed the headline of the story, from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton’s possible role. The article’s URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.
Until the election, Hillary and the NYT will be known respectively as “Jump” and “How High?”
Of course, what Michelle Malkin's blog is up in arms about is that, at the Clinton campaign's request, the Times corrected their own mistakes. That, again, is highly irritating to conservatives, who mostly till now continue to run with the botched story because they like it better. Who cares if it's not the truth. Truth? It's overrated.

Eric Wemple at the Post:
Or, as Cupp said, “Hillary asked them to” change the story. And that, conservatives argued, was the scandal. NewsBusters, the conservative watchdog of mainstream media, scolded the newspaper for caving: “[T]he Hillary team had complained to the Times about the initial Thursday night story, and the paper (surprise) complied.” Breitbart sniffed, “New York Times Stealth-Edits Clinton Email Story at Her Command.” Fox News contributor Monica Crowley:
On Fox News Friday afternoon, former George W. Bush press secretary Dana Perino echoed the notion: “I had a chance to work at the White House, too. Do you think for one second, that if I had a complaint about the lead of the New York Times story and I called and complained that the New York Times would have fallen over themselves to change it?”
As a piece of media criticism, this outburst was a two-story flophouse with termites running amok in the joists. On one level, habitual critics of the New York Times were so blinded by their bias against the newspaper that they couldn’t stand still and appreciate what the paper had done: “Break” a “story” about a criminal probe into Hillary Clinton over her e-mails. It had put its good name on the line for a towering scoop that — if true! — could have seriously hurt her 2016 presidential hopes. It moved aggressively on the story, as well — way too aggressively, as a matter of fact. A Democratic spokesman for the House oversight committee, which is closely involved in Clinton e-mail stuff, told the Erik Wemple Blog: “Unfortunately, the New York Times did not check with us before running its story, even though we have offered to help in the past and could have corrected these errors before they showed up on the front page. We do not know who the New York Times talked to, but we talked to the Inspectors General themselves.”
Given that context, you might suppose that the paper’s conservative critics could have forgiven the paper for scaling back a few words. They didn’t.
 In other words, conservatives flipped out over a scandal snatched from their cold, dead hands. The truth? Again, who cares? They want the scandal!!

Travelgate, Vince Foster, Whitewater, and now Benghazi and emails.
And I want to be president? I should want OUT, is what I should want...

Here's some worthy perspective from Josh Marshall.

And here's some rather unworthy perspective from Howard Kurtz of Fox News. He doesn't get the story wrong, per se, it's just that he leaves out that the Times has been rolling back the story more and more since it came out, and he also does what Beltway reporters like him do ad nauseum: He perpetuates the Hillary-doesn't-tell-the-truth narrative, regardless of how true that narrative is.

Kurtz isn't lying. He's simply perpetuating misinformation. You don't have to love Hillary to appreciate how she's being gamed, slandered. It's what they do. No wonder she can't get her favorables up. She has enemies constantly throwing spaghetti at the wall. Some of it sticks, regardless of its hollowness.

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