This piece was not written by a lawyer, and it will contain no Venn diagram-style analysis comparing the mishandling of classified information by former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At issue here is the media’s stubborn refusal even to try to frame either case fairly.
For Trump, the allegations in the indictment are themselves proof of his guilt. In fact, his guilt was assumed long before the indictment was even a twinkle in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s eye. For the media, the prosecutorial process is a spectacle to be enjoyed in the aftermath of the Justice Department finally “getting” the bad orange man.
Not so for Mrs. Clinton. It’s not just that viewers weren’t bombarded with long lists of Clinton’s many malfeasances — though, of course, they weren’t. But the media were so resistant to discussing Clinton’s emails that many refused even to admit that there was a scandal.
If you were watching TV news back at the height of the email saga in 2015 and 2016, you were subjected to daily lectures about why nobody actually cared about Hillary’s emails, and why you shouldn’t either.
CNN Legal View host Ashleigh Banfield declared that the scandal was “not even a scandal” at all. “The ‘scandal’ is the Republicans’ word for it,” she added. Later, a panel would conclude: “there’s no there there,” as the chyron on the bottom of the screen read: “Do Clinton emails matter to voters?”
On MSNBC, Joy Reid remarked theatrically: “I have been utterly bored with the story… I’ve never really heard anyone spontaneously bring it up when I’ve been on the trail covering Hillary.”
The now-late Cokie Roberts of NPR was irritated that the matter was even being investigated: “A hundred and forty-seven FBI agents are focused on this? I mean, don’t they have other problems that they should be — there’s no crime in the country they should be worrying about?”
Throughout it all, these journalists and their colleagues could barely contain their indignation that Clinton even was under investigation.
So while the facts of Trump’s and Clinton’s cases were indeed different, they were far more similar than the media’s handling of them.