The uproar engendered by the Comey letter illuminates how Clinton-haters start with a conclusion and work backwards, suggests Vox’s Matthew Yglesias. “The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations arose out of an unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting,” wrote Yglesias in a Monday piece. “The best way to understand this odd hopscotch is through the Prime Directive of Clinton investigations: We know the Clintons are guilty; the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?”
Yglesias implied that the answers to those questions almost certainly are, respectively, “nothing” and “never,” given that Hillary “has been very thoroughly investigated, and none of the earlier investigations came up with any crimes. So now the Prime Directive compels her adversaries to look under a new rock and likewise compels cable television and many major newspapers to treat the barest hint of the possibility of new evidence that might be damning as a major development.”
Moreover, the mainstream media subconsciously accept the haters’ premise: “There are several rules that govern media coverage of the Clintons, but this year the Prime Directive has dominated them all. Network news has devoted more minutes of coverage to Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined, even as email investigations have not uncovered any wrongdoing. It’s inexplicable news judgment, unless you simply assume there’s a crime out there.”
Yglesias argued that this Prime Directive (a term adapted from Star Trek) warps our perception not only of the Clintons but of the world (bolding added):
In Prime Directive terms, the Weiner laptop is a major break. After all, the evidence of guilt must be out there somewhere. So why not Anthony Weiner’s laptop?
It’s only when you step outside the circle of madness that you can see how ridiculous this is…Hillary’s email has already been exhaustively investigated from multiple different angles, and it shows no wrongdoing whatsoever. If you assume there is wrongdoing, then, yes, maybe all evidence of the wrongdoing was suppressed from what was turned over and Weiner’s computer contains secret new damning emails.
But what if all previous investigations have shown no wrongdoing because there was no wrongdoing? And what if the client-side copies of emails on Weiner’s computer are just client-side copies of emails, just like the emails in the inbox of everyone else who downloads email to a computer? What if Benghazi was just a tragedy and an example of how bad things happen in war zones? What if Whitewater was just a land deal on which some people lost money because real estate speculation is risky? What if Clinton has been getting away with it for all these years because she hasn’t done anything wrong?