An official with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign sent a lengthy missive to Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, indicating “grave concern” over a controversial report the newspaper carried regarding the former secretary of state's private email account.
That's pretty audacious when Mrs. Clinton destroyed her own e-mail server and the State Department's getting scolded by judges over her department's slowness to respond to record requests from Hillary's tenure at Foggy Bottom.
The letter was a response to an article posted last week by reporters Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo that began: “Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”
Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri responded by noting:
I am writing to officially register our campaign's grave concern with the Times' publication of an inaccurate report related to Hillary Clinton and her email use.
We remain perplexed by the Times’ slowness to acknowledge its errors after the fact, and some of the shaky justifications that Times’ editors have made.
"Then, on July 24, all parties involved in the story -- the two inspectors general, the Justice Department and the Clinton campaign -- issued public statements saying that the sought-after investigation was not 'criminal,'" Palmieri continued. “Despite the overwhelming evidence,” the campaign spokesperson stated, “the Times did not remove the word from its headline and its story, nor did it issue a correction, until the following day.”
“This problem was compounded by the fact that the Times took an inexplicable, let alone indefensible, delay in correcting the story and removing 'criminal' from the headline and text of the story,” she stated.
According to an article posted on the Politico website by media analyst Dylan Byers:
Baquet ... did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Thursday night. The Times has issued multiple corrections on the story.
In one correction, the Times rightly stated that its use of the word "criminal" was due to information provided "from senior government officials." The On Media blog independently confirmed last week that the error was caused by misinformation provided to the Times by a Justice Department official.
“That explanation hardly seemed to satisfy Palmieri, who accused the Times' reporters of relying on "questionable sourcing ... without bothering to seek corroborating evidence,” Byers stated.
The Clinton campaign official also remarked: "In our conversations with the Times reporters, it was clear that they had not personally reviewed the IGs' referral that they falsely described as both criminal and focused on Hillary Clinton.
Instead, the reporters relied on unnamed sources that characterized the referral as such,” Palmieri also wrote. “However, it is not at all clear that those sources had directly seen the referral, either."
“This should have represented too many 'degrees of separation' for any newspaper to consider it reliable sourcing, least of all the New York Times,” she stated.
“Palmieri's letter, which is 1,915 words long, includes three other complaints,” Byers noted.
The first was “that the 'seriousness of the allegations' ... demanded far more care and due diligence than the Times exhibited prior to this article’s publication. Second, “the Times 'incomprehensibly delayed the issuance of a full and true correction.'” And finally, the Times' "official explanations for the misreporting is profoundly unsettling."
"I wish to emphasize our genuine wish to have a constructive relationship with the New York Times," Palmieri wrote in conclusion. "But we also are extremely troubled by the events that went into this erroneous report, and will be looking forward to discussing our concerns related to this incident so we can have confidence that it is not repeated in the future."
As if things weren't bad enough, Brian Fallon -- press secretary for the Clinton campaign -- said on Thursday that the campaign sent Palmieri's letter to reporters because Baquet refused to publish it in the Times after receiving it on Tuesday.
So much for having a "constructive relationship." You know you're in trouble when you're the Democratic presidential front-runner and you clash with the biggest liberal newspaper in the country.