NYT Portrays Hillary as Passive Victim of Email, Foundation 'Questions' She Just Can't 'Put Behind Her'

August 23rd, 2016 12:37 PM

Hillary Clinton evidently doesn’t actually commit scandalous or criminal behavior, she merely is pressed by questions that passively “shadow” her and “follow” her presidential campaign. That’s the tone of recent New York Times scandal coverage on Clinton’s various controveries involving her foudation and her handling of classified documents, both of which have gained new life with a big new batch of previously undisclosed emails.

Tuesday’s lead Times story employed the indirect tone, as reporters Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers filed under the headline deck: “More Questions About Email Use Shadow Clinton -- F.B.I. Has A New Trove -- Dispute That Threatens to Follow Campaign Into the Fall.”

One can almost hear the regret in the copy editor’s voice as he mounted the headline, as if Clinton’s email security imbroglio was merely a hurdle for her campaign to clear, not a self-inflicted national security scandal about which she has consistently lied to the public.

The dispute over Hillary Clinton’s email practices now threatens to shadow her for the rest of the presidential campaign after the disclosure on Monday that the F.B.I. collected nearly 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge’s order that the State Department accelerate the documents’ release.

As a result, thousands of emails that Mrs. Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November. The order, by Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court, came the same day a conservative watchdog group separately released hundreds of emails from one of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides, Huma Abedin, which put a new focus on the sometimes awkward ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

The F.B.I. discovered the roughly 14,900 emails by scouring Mrs. Clinton’s server and the computer archives of government officials with whom she corresponded. In late July, it turned them over to the State Department, which now must set a timetable for their release, according to Judge Boasberg’s order.


Despite Mr. Comey’s conclusion that Mrs. Clinton mishandled classified information, he said last month that the F.B.I. would not recommend criminal charges against her, which finally seemed to ease the threat that her handling of emails has posed to her presidential campaign. But the prospect of further disclosures from Mrs. Clinton’s emails suggests that the issue will not be put to rest so easily.

Sunday’s front-page story by Hillary-follower Amy Chozick was informative but also muted in passivity: “Foundation Ties Bedevil Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign.” The print headline was no better, sounding the note of regret: “Foundation Complicates Clinton’s Bid.”

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated more than $10 million. Through a foundation, so did the son-in-law of a former Ukrainian president whose government was widely criticized for corruption and the murder of journalists. A Lebanese-Nigerian developer with vast business interests contributed as much as $5 million.

For years the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation thrived largely on the generosity of foreign donors and individuals who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the global charity. But now, as Mrs. Clinton seeks the White House, the funding of the sprawling philanthropy has become an Achilles’ heel for her campaign and, if she is victorious, potentially her administration as well.

A Saturday story by Myers, “Judge Orders Clinton’s Written Testimony on Emails,” took a similar tone, portraying the classified document scandal, which Clinton is solely responsible for, as merely an “issue” that “will continue to dog her presidential campaign,” poor thing.

A federal judge on Friday ordered Hillary Clinton to provide written testimony under oath about why she set up a private computer server to send and receive emails while secretary of state, ensuring that the issue will continue to dog her presidential campaign until the eve of the election.

Why won’t the pesky thing just go away?

Only six weeks ago, the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey Jr., declined to recommend prosecuting Mrs. Clinton, saying that while her actions had been careless, they did not amount to a crime. Yet the controversy refuses to dissipate. This week, the bureau turned over to Congress the documents it compiled in the case, including a three-and-a-half hour interview with Mrs. Clinton, even as Republicans in Congress pressed their public case for her to be charged with perjury.

Judge Sullivan’s ruling opened another front in a fight Mrs. Clinton’s campaign certainly hoped to put behind her. Although he declined to order her to answer questions in person, his ruling underscored the legal complications that Mrs. Clinton faces even as she enters the homestretch of her campaign.