The Times and their shitty story


I gotta say, the thing that annoys me most about contemporary journalism is when they write a pre-determined narrative and then bend the facts to fit. The other thing that annoys me is how much context was missing from the original story (like all the other cabinet members who did the exact same thing, and the fact that the law everyone quoted wasn’t passed until after Clinton left.) If you’re going to do an oppo dump, for Christ’s sake, do a little extra work. Because otherwise, you’re just a typist.

But remember, the NYTimes is the same paper who pushed Whitewater, a fraudulent story, and the Iraq terror stories by Judith Miller. I see no reason to think things have changed. Michael Tomasky:

The (NY Times) article says that there were “new” regulations that Clinton was supposed to abide by. It notes that one past secretary of state, Colin Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005, sometimes used his personal email account “before the new regulations went into effect.”

A key question would seem to be this: When did the new regulations go into effect? Oddly, the Times article doesn’t say. It doesn’t pin the new regs down to a specific date or even year.

Now, I know enough about reporting to know how this works. If you’ve got an airtight case, then you lay it all out there. You include the date. Indeed you emphasize the date, you put it high up in your story. The fact that it’s not in there is a little fishy.

Well, this might be the explanation: The new regs apparently weren’t fully implemented by State until a year and half after Clinton left State. Here’s the timeline: Clinton left the State Department on February 1, 2013. Back in 2011, President Obama had signed a memorandum directing the update of federal records management. But the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) didn’t issue the relevant guidance, declaring that email records of senior government officials are permanent federal records, until August 2013. Then, in September 2013, NARA issued guidance on personal email use. A senior State Department official emailed me to say that “in October 2014, a Department-wide notice was sent out which explained each employee’s responsibilities for records management. Consistent with 2013 NARA guidance, it included instructions that generally employees should not use personal email for the transaction of government business, but that in the very limited circumstances when it is necessary, all records must be forwarded to a government account or otherwise preserved in the Department’s electronic records systems.”

So if these new regulations went into effect after she left State, then what rule did she violate, exactly? And, if this is true, why did the Times not share this rather crucial piece of information with its readers? No one could possibly argue that this fact isn’t germane to the story. It’s absolutely central to it. Why would the Times leave it out?

The Times article says the “existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.” This is incorrect. Gawker reported this first, in March 2013. At the time Clinton was Secretary, the Federal Records Act didn’t require federal employees to use government accounts, only to preserve records of their communications. This, Clinton seems to have done.

This seems like a good time to remember another pattern of behavior: namely, that of the Times. I remember clear as a bell reading that initial Jeff Gerth story on Whitewater back in March 1992. It seemed devastating. It took many millions of dollars and many years and many phony allegations before important parts of Gerth’s reporting were debunked. But they were. The Clintons did nothing wrong on Whitewater except to be naïve enough to let themselves by chiseled by Jim McDougal.

If they had done something wrong, with all the prosecutorial firepower thrown at them by a prosecutor (Ken Starr) who clearly hated them, don’t you think they’d have been indicted? Of course they would have been. But Starr couldn’t turn anything up on Whitewater and was about to close down his investigation empty-handed until he got wind of a gal named Monica.

So that’s a pattern too. The Times, for those with short memories, has never loved the Clintons. Remember Howell Raines and his ceaseless, thundering editorials against them. And today, it smells like the Times may have been rolled by the Republican staff of the Benghazi panel. And hey, great work by them and Chairman Trey Gowdy to use the nation’s leading liberal newspaper in this way.

The Times has some questions to answer: Did you know that the new regs went into effect after Clinton left office? And if you didn’t, why not? And if you did, why did you leave that fact out of the story? One can imagine Clinton coming up with decent answers to her questions, but it’s kind of hard to see how the Times can.

H/t Seth Okin, Maryland Sex Crimes Lawyer.

9 thoughts on “The Times and their shitty story

  1. Just another pretend controversy, brought to you by the people who are still demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate. If she weren’t running for president, they wouldn’t give a fuck about this. Therefore, this has nothing to do with the sanctity of public records or the (fake) violations of regulations by a public official, and everything to do with political self interest.

    I feel bad for these poor, stupid bastards. When Hillary wins, that “mom jeans” meme isn’t going to be as strong. Not that it ever was. Get ready for eight years of overuse of the word “shrill.”

  2. But she is running for president so we should all give a “fuck” about the shenanigans that the Clinton’s have been pulling for years. Some that have been made public and some that have not but soon will be.
    1. Why would Clinton set up her own private IT system in her own home unless she intended to control the flow of information at some point?
    2. Has Clinton turned all of her emails over to the State Department?
    3. How would the State Department or the public ever know if she has or has not unless her hard drives are confiscated and reviewed?
    4. Why are the Clinton cult members so quick to fall on their swords for this woman?

    Nobody in their right mind is going to defend the state of today’s journalism. It is atrocious. But just because the press chooses to report only part of the story, and badly at that, doesn’t mean that we citizens shouldn’t do our own due diligence and flesh out the rest of the story by asking additional questions.
    Clinton had her own tech center located in her own home. That’s a fact.
    The Clinton’s are not now nor have they ever been the most honest and straightforward people. That’s a fact.
    So if the public is suspicious about what’s going on here that’s on Hillary and her spin doctors.

  3. Tomasky’s spinning this! The regulation that came into effect after Clinton left provides for “NECESSARY” use of personal e-mail and archiving procedures. There is no, NO cabinet member that privatized their entire departmental communications. That has been illegal forever. My spouse is a Clinton supporter. She is also the manager of a small suburb IT department. She gasped when this came out. It would get her fired. Public records are public for accountability reasons.

  4. A small suburban IT department is not the federal government. Every IT person I know who works for the feds read this story and said, “Yeah, no shit.”


    In an extended statement provided to Bloomberg Politics, a Clinton aide detailed ways in which Clinton did not run afoul of archival laws or the practices of her predecessors. Clinton only used her email account for non-classified information, the aide said, backing up an assertion that the State Department made earlier Tuesday.

    The aide also said that assertions from the New York Times and others that different records rules applied to Clinton than to her predecessors is wrong, since the National Archives and Records Administration did not issue guidance updating its rules until fall 2013, months after she left office. The same rules applied to Clinton as had applied to Powell.

    While NARA’s preference is that officials not use an email alias, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero said in sworn testimony in 2013 that “nothing in the law that prohibits them.”

    “We don’t care how many accounts you have as long as those on which you’re doing federal business are captured for the record,” he also said.

    Responding to a department request for documents from recent secretaries of state, Clinton’s team provided over 55,000 pages of emails, which the Clinton aide said included anything that pertained to her work there. Personal conversations such as emails with her daughter Chelsea about flower arrangements for her 2010 wedding were not included. But any correspondence with the 100 State Department officials with whom she regularly corresponded would have already been stored on the department’s servers and Clinton’s office made sure to replicate all of those e-mails. In all, 9 out of 10 emails that Clinton sent during her time at the State Department went to colleagues there.

  6. (Hey. Where’d my comment go? Not that it was anything important. Just curious. I did have one actual question: Why do some of the insiders have this eternal vendetta against anyone named Clinton? Did they not get Christmas cards one year? or what?)

  7. I’ve always heard the beltway hates the Clintons because they are “outsiders” of sorts – yokels from Arkansas.

    Comparing the reaction to Clinton doing this during her tenure – and Powell doing it leading up to and after our invasion of Iraq? How come the NYTimes isn’t looking into that?? The funniest part Condi gets a pass because “she didn’t use email” lolololol wtf? Did she not know how? How did she communicate? IOKIYAR

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