Four of the country's largest newspapers on Wednesday kept the latest developments in Hillary Clinton's growing e-mail scandal off the front page (one kept it out of the paper completely). The revelation that the Democratic candidate had top secret information on her server was relegated to the bottom of page A13 in the New York Times.
The Washington Post managed to place the news that Clinton will finally turn over her server on A2. The Los Angeles Times hid the story on A9. All of these newspapers, however, did better than USA Today, which completely skipped Clinton's scandal in the print edition.
The New York Times's headline charitably portrayed the Democratic frontrunner as just trying to clear things up: "Clinton Directs Aides to Give Email and Thumb drive to the Justice Department." This tone continued in journalist Michael Schmidt's lead sentence:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has directed her aides to give the Justice Department an email server that housed the personal account that she used exclusively while secretary of state, along with a thumb drive that contained copies of the emails, her presidential campaign said on Tuesday.
He then allowed:
Earlier on Tuesday, the inspector general for the intelligence community told members of Congress that Mrs. Clinton had “top secret” information — the highest classification of government intelligence — in two emails among the 40 from the private account that the State Department has allowed him to review.
It wasn't until paragraph 18 (of a 19 paragraph story) that Republican criticism was allowed. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was quoted about Clinton handing over the server: "That’s a long time for top secret classified information to be held by an unauthorized person outside of an approved, secure government facility."
The Washington Post, in contrast, allowed no Republican quotes of this latest development in the Clinton scandal. Writers Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman delicately noted:
The FBI has been looking into the security of Clinton’s unusual private system, which has emerged as an issue in her campaign amid growing questions from Republicans and some U.S. intelligence officials about whether government secrets might have been put at risk.
The polite tone continued as the Post writers waited until paragraph 19 to explain:
[Inspector General for Intelligence Charles] McCullough also told lawmakers that his reviewers found two e-mails they believe contain information that the State Department considers classified, and they have alerted the agency so it can conduct its own review.
All told, McCullough has pointed to seven e-mails that he said contained classified information, including two with top-secret material.
His findings appear to contradict Clinton’s earlier comments.
In contrast to the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times at least included strong criticism from a Republican. However, it came in the 15th and final paragraph:
"If Hillary Clinton believed in honesty and transparency, she would have turned over her secret server months ago to an independent arbiter, not as a last resort and to the Obama Justice Department,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. “Of course, if she really cares about transparency, she would never have had a secret server in the first place.”
Clinton's spokesman, Nick Merrill, however, made it to paragraph 11. Clinton herself was featured in paragraph eight, exclaiming, "I have no doubt that we have done exactly what we should have done."
Still, all of these papers at least covered the story. USA Today couldn't even manage that. Instead, the nationwide publication highlighted this not-so important story on the front page: "Jets Franchise Once Again Is a National Punch Line."