Tuesday afternoon, Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan of the Associated Press released the results of a review of State Department appointment data that they used to make some striking claims about Hillary Clinton’s schedule as secretary of state.
According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.
Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.Charles P. Pierce:
The topic is The Clinton Foundation, and the new e-mails released by the ratfcking legal operation known as Judicial Watch, which got the AP all a'quiver. Here is the simple answer to that: no quid pro quo, no pay-for-play, no matter how many respected people want to believe it's there.Nancy LeTourneau:
In other words, what it comes down to is “it just plain looks bad.” That is basically what most every drummed up “scandal” against Hillary Clinton comes down to: from the perspective of the people judging her – it looks bad. Welcome to the world of optics as scandal.
One way to look at this is that the AP spun the story they wanted to tell about this information. That happens almost all the time and we often don’t notice. To clarify how that happened here, note first of all the AP headline: “Many Donors to Clinton Foundation Met With Her at State.” As Adam Khan points out – that’s actually not true.
BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 23, 2016
Clinton Foundation has 7000 donors.— Adam Khan (@Khanoisseur) August 24, 2016
Hillary met with 60 as SoS= ~1%.
Wouldn't have made for a great AP tweet @brianefallon @SheWhoVotes
If in the catastrophic event neo- fascist genital wart Donald "Rump" Trump is elected President, you can thank "Clintons are shady" narrative- boosters like this, and those bullshit catapulters who wrote them.
UPDATE: Mother Jones' David Corn looks at the story the broken media won't cover: the work of the Clinton Foundation.
UPDATE II: Two days later, with time to correct, the assholes are still sticking to their story.
UPDATE III: And, finally,
Really an embarrassment for AP, and other journalists who just glommed onto story uncritically. Where are standards? https://t.co/b2PhEkdwVO— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) August 24, 2016