Given the media feeding frenzy over the allegedly Jew-baiting tweet by Donald Trump’s campaign last weekend, maybe reporters should examine well-sourced allegations that Hillary Clinton once angrily uttered an anti-Semitic slur.
What is good for the kosher goose is good for the gander.
Unlike the supposedly damning fact that the Trump tweet came from a racist feed, there is no six degrees of separation here.
The issue surfaced during her 2000 Senate campaign with publication of a new book on the Clinton marriage. Celebrity biographer Jerry Oppenheimer reported that the night Bill unexpectedly lost his 1974 Arkansas congressional seat bid, Hillary shrieked at his campaign manager, “you fucking Jew bastard.”
The left-leaning Guardian then did its own reporting on the allegation. Paul Fray, the campaign manager, plus his wife and another campaign worker confirmed the incident in considerable detail to the British publication.
“I was a little defensive about it. I looked to the floor thinking ‘How do I respond?’ I didn’t mind being called a son-of-a-bitch, but when it came to attacking my culture, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame,” Fray recalled.
“You’ve got to understand it was the heat of the moment. We knew we had lost. It was a case of people lashing out at one another and it just got to that point.”
Fray’s wife said she was present at the time Hillary — renowned for her shrieking and cursing behind closed doors — allegedly made the comment. Another campaign worker, Paul McDonald, told the Guardian he was standing within earshot and heard the words as well. “I don’t know what provoked it or what. I just remember that one little comment.”
The Clintons, just like with so many other charges against them later validated, emphatically denied the allegations.
The former president said, “I was there on election night in 1974 and the charge is simply not true.”
Then he parsed it: “She might have called him a bastard. I wouldn’t rule that out. She’s never claimed that she was pure on profanity. I’ve never heard her tell a joke with an ethnic connotation. She’s so fanatic about it. She can’t tell an ethnic joke – it’s not in her.”
Hillary even denied any bigoted thoughts ever crossed her mind.
“I have never said anything like that, ever,” she said. “I have in the past certainly, you know maybe, called somebody a name. But I have never used an ethnic, racial, anti-Semitic, bigoted, discriminatory, prejudiced, accusation against anybody. I’ve never done it. I’ve never thought it.”
So maybe it happened. Maybe it didn’t.
But, as regards to the supposedly nefarious intentions Trump tweet, mind-reading is not journalism. At least the charge against Hillary turns on the actual word of three eyewitnesses with no obvious motivation for lying to suddenly fabricate an incident.
Basic fairness dictates that journalists look into this.