Hillary's email: The new Whitewater
Eric Boehlert in Media Matters:
Journalism is often about priorities. The act of newsgathering and storytelling is more than assembling facts and quotes and providing context. It’s also about deciding what’s important and specifically which stories are more newsworthy than others...
So the morning after Donald Trump seemed to make a veiled, yet shocking threat of political violence against his opponent, NBC News dubbed the day’s top story to be a small number of 2009 emails from Hillary Clinton’s State Department that had been released, emails that Clinton neither sent nor received.
For me, that weird prioritization represented an early red flag that the latest round of Clinton email coverage was heading seriously off-track---again. It also confirmed that there seems to be some weird magnetic bond the press has devised that keeps itself breathlessly attached to the email pursuit, not matter how trivial the developments.
In other words, the Clinton emails are the new Whitewater. It’s the media’s latest Clinton “scandal” in search of a storyline. It’s a meandering genre of overexcited journalism that long ago lost sight of what the Clinton wrongdoing was supposed to be.
Recall that Whitewater, the-hard-to-follow pseudo-scandal sponsored by The New York Times in the 1990s, dragged on so long that it became hard to recall what the Clintons’ alleged original sin was. (Losing money on a real estate deal is against the law?)
“I could never remember what it was supposed to be about,” former Times reporter Todd Purdum recently conceded about Whitewater. “It was so byzantine.”
We’ve seen the same arc with the Groundhog Day email saga. In real time, very few Beltway journalists will admit that the gotcha email story no longer has any gotcha. Likely only years from now will reporters and pundits concede that the Clinton email story was “byzantine” and hard to follow...