Opinion

Politico’s Love Affair With Hillary’s Email Press Conference

Derek Hunter Contributor

In its coverage of Hillary Clinton’s press conference regarding her exclusive use of private email as secretary of state, Politico couldn’t help but add flowery descriptions and veiled praise for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

It took two Politico staffers to describe Clinton’s demeanor and presentation as being “with the poise and clarity of a mid-campaign politician.”

Yet just two paragraphs later the authors, Glenn Thrush and Gabriel Debenedetti, describe something not particularly poised or clear. They write, “At times, the former first lady, who answered about ten questions, seemed to contradict herself, saying at one point that she had destroyed her personal emails, then suggesting they remained — off limits — on her family’s private server.”

Can one be both poised and clear while being completely contradictory?

Adding to the high school crush-level “reporting,” Thrush and Debenedetti described the scene at the short press conference in creative writing class language. “Today’s event at the United Nations was an exercise in a hastily-organized crisis management — staged a few feet away from a copy of Picasso’s Guernica, a gruesome depiction of raw human suffering during the Spanish Civil War.”

After setting the stage unnecessarily, the intrepid bloggers returned to their Hillary love. They actually wrote the following line:

It featured none of the genteel stagecraft and personal dignity Clinton as a politician and private citizen craves — a push-and-shove tabloid press scrum in front of 25 TV cameras — more “Bonfire of the Vanities” than “Woman of the Year.”

Not mentioned was the fact that Clinton and her staff chose the venue, the United Nations, one with heavy restrictions for press credentials, and announced it less than a day before it happened. They could have chosen another location, one without restrictive press credentialing to accommodate more media in an orderly fashion, but they decided not to.

In the end, Politico writes, “Clinton allies and aides forcefully deny any implications of inappropriate behavior, noting that Clinton was following precedent in Foggy Bottom and that she has asked the State Department to review and release her emails.”

Left unsaid is the fact that precedent is irrelevant, the Federal Records Act was changed in 2009 to require official government business that is conducted via email be archived on government servers.

Politico leaves the impression that since no one before her had been subjected to the law, Hillary shouldn’t be either. That’s not how laws work.

For the record, the Federal Records Act was changed again in 2014 to require the use of official government email addresses for government business, when at all possible. That change would not impact Clinton since she left office in 2013. But that distinction would not register with Politico readers since the blog decided not to include those facts in their story.