Mainstream press are relying on a flawed timeline to suggest former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of an iPad to send State Department emails is a contradiction to her explanation that she established a private email account in order to use only one mobile device to conduct email correspondence. But such speculation ignores the fact that the iPad did not exist until the year after Clinton's private email account was established
In sharp contrast with its intense scrutiny of Hillary Clinton's private email server, the media has largely remained mum on Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) own habit of deleting official emails sent from a private email account. MSNBC's Steve Benen pointed out that the hosts of Fox News' The Five gave Rubio a free pass on his email history, while continuing to disparage Clinton's private server.
According to a statement by Clinton's lawyer, the former Secretary of State's email server was wiped clean after she turned over approximately 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that not only did Rubio correspond with reporters on a private email account while he served as a leader in the Florida House, but when the Orlando Sentinal requested those emails, Rubio's spokesperson said they had been deleted.
In a March 31 article for MSNBC.com's MaddowBlog, Benen pointed out that while co-hosting the March 30 edition of The Five, Rubio failed to answer a direct question about whether he would publicly disclose his own private emails, writing, "At this point, Dana Perino, the former press secretary in the Bush/Cheney White House, jumped in to criticize Clinton in more detail, and Rubio never responded to the question. Which is further evidence that the politics of emails is trickier than Republican would like."
Benen went on to describe how similar the two email stories actually are:
But in an unexpected twist, it was a question from a Fox News co-host that demonstrates how easy it is to remove "Clinton" out of that sentence and put in the name of several Republican presidential candidates, including "Rubio." Consider:
In Rubio's case, the senator concedes he did official work on his private account, but he insists the deleted private emails had nothing to do with his official duties. Perhaps the way to be certain is to pursue full disclosure - up to and including careful technology scrutiny of computer servers - just to make sure he didn't do anything wrong.
Why should Rubio be trusted to make decisions on his own about which of his emails should be deleted?
I suppose the obvious answer is that the Florida senator isn't accused of any official wrongdoing, so there's no need to review his communications. But - and this is key - Clinton isn't facing any serious allegations, either, Benghazi conspiracy theorists notwithstanding.
The media also ignored former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's email habits. In the wake of a Clinton feeding frenzy, the major networks paid minimal attention to the seven years it took for Bush to comply with a Florida statute requiring him to turn over private emails.
Three of Rupert Murdoch's largest and most powerful news outlets promoted baseless conspiracy theories that Google is using its alleged "close ties" with the Obama administration to receive favorable treatment and to push its policy agenda. Murdoch has a long history of attacking Google.
On March 24, News Corp's Wall Street Journal reported on the purportedly close ties between the Obama administration and Google after discovering that Google employees have visited the White House multiple times since President Obama took office. The piece went on to allege that Google used its ties with the White House to get favorable action from a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust probe into the company.
The New York Post (News Corp) went further on March 28 in an article titled "Google controls what we buy, the news we read - and Obama's policies." The article speculated that Google has used its influence and financial contributions to the Obama administration to receive favors including net neutrality regulation, favorable FTC action, and contracts to fix the Affordable Care Act's website. The piece speculated on "what's coming next: politically filtered information."
21st Century Fox's Fox News echoed the New York Post during the March 30 edition of Fox & Friends, with co-host Clayton Morris claiming "the same search engine that controls our news also controls the White House." During the show, Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo claimed that Google was "being investigated, the president dropped it -- net neutrality -- Google wanted the president to go that way." Bartiromo also speculated on whether Google was "editing" the news "to make it more favorable for the president."
But the Wall Street Journal admitted that the "FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices." And the FTC pushed back critically to the Journal's piece, writing:
The article suggests that a series of disparate and unrelated meetings involving FTC officials and executive branch officials or Google representatives somehow affected the Commission's decision to close the search investigation in early 2013. Not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative.
Rupert Murdoch, head of both News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox, has a history of attacking Google. Murdoch has accused Google of being "piracy leaders," and in 2009 found himself in a war of words against Google and threatened to block his content from the search engine.
Right-wing media are up in arms over the Department of Defense's (DOD) release of a 1987 report suggesting Israel has nuclear capabilities, claiming the acknowledgement of the country's nuclear program is an "unprecedented" "leak" and act of "treachery" from the White House. In reality, the Bush administration declassified information on Israel's nuclear program years ago, and the DOD only released the 1987 report after years of fighting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
From the March 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Larry Klayman, a conspiracy theorist and WND columnist who has been at the margins of the conservative movement for decades, is behind a dubious lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of racketeering. Klayman is utterly lacking in credibility, having filed numerous far-fetched lawsuits targeting the Clintons over the years. He has also repeatedly suggested the Clintons "orchestrated the murders of several of their associates in the 1990s."
The Wall Street Journal is recycling old news to scandalize donations from foreign individuals to the Clinton Foundation by funders who were previously disclosed by the Clintons as early as 2008.
The Clinton Foundation, a global charity, agreed not to accept donations from foreign governments while Clinton was secretary of state, in order to avoid any possible conflict of interest. The Journal baselessly suggested on March 19, however, that the foundation may have been inappropriately sidestepping this ban by still "raising millions of dollars from foreigners with connections to their home governments" from more than a dozen individuals since Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. The article noted that the donations were for "charitable, not political reasons," but went on to hype "political criticism" over the donations.
A Fox News panel subsequently used the article to baselessly push that there may be a "conflict of interest" with donations to the Clinton Foundation from these individual donors.
But this is yet another attempt to recycle old stories in order to sensationalize charitable donations to an organization with global reach.
The Clintons publically released their donor list in 2008, ahead of Hillary Clinton's confirmation at the State Department which the Journal wrote about at the time. The Journal's 2015 report covers donations to the Clinton Foundation from several of the same foreign individuals referenced in those reports:
· Donations from Victor Dahdaleh were referenced in a December 2008 Journal article.
· Donations from Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi were referenced in a separate December 2008 Journal article.
· Donations from Viktor Pinchuk were referenced in a January 2009 Journal editorial.
Moreover, many of the donors hyped by the Journal have made numerous charitable contributions to a variety of organizations. For example, Wang Wenliang donated to "Singapore, Harvard and New York Universities as well as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank," as the Journal noted.
Right-wing media outlets -- led by Fox's Megyn Kelly -- helped the GOP execute a whisper campaign falsely accusing Hillary Clinton of committing perjury when she left the State Department and demanding to see a separation document to prove their charge. After the Associated Press accepted the premise that a separation document should be produced, the State Department made clear that neither Clinton nor her predecessors, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, were required to sign that document.
From the March 18 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
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From the March 18 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:
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Megyn Kelly is using her platform and branding as an independent voice and legal expert on Fox News to make up laws and fabricate felony charges over Hillary Clinton's email use, accusing the former secretary of state of destroying evidence.
The State Department on Tuesday confirmed that it had no record of Clinton or her immediate predecessors, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, having signed a separation form (OF-109) upon leaving office, and that they were not required to sign that form.
Citing absolutely no independent legal authority, Kelly argued that "protocols" required Clinton to sign the document, only to quickly dismiss the fact that there is no evidence that Powell or Rice signed the form. She baselessly insinuated that Clinton destroyed documents to conceal perjury, claiming that the separation form "suddenly disappeared," and argued that Clinton was "committing a felony" by keeping email on a private server, which Kelly claimed amounted to concealing federal records.
Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails as part of a State Department initiative to update its recordkeeping. State Department officials have made clear that Clinton's use of a non-government email account during her tenure was well known throughout the department, undercutting Kelly's argument that Clinton was concealing anything, and the overwhelming majority of her work-related email was captured in real time.
Kelly's fallacious legal opinion has been flatly rejected by actual legal experts who have said that Clinton's use of a private email while serving as secretary of state was perfectly legal, and by the undisputed fact that Clinton was under no deadline to turn over her private emails to the State Department.
Neil Koslowe, an expert on the Federal Records Act, told The National Law Journal, "There's not any blanket prohibition on any federal employee from using a personal email account to conduct government business." Fox News legal analysts Jonna Spilbor and Arthur Aidala agreed that Clinton did not violate any laws. Jason Baron, the former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration and a critic of Clinton's use of private email, acknowledged that Clinton did not violate any laws.
Even conservative columnist and Fox News regular Byron York acknowledged that the absence of separation forms from Powell and Rice "is exculpatory for Clinton."
Kelly has been obsessed with the question of whether Clinton signed a separation form, discussing it every night on her show since March 11. Her specious accusations and wild conspiracy theories, delivered with the veneer of legal authority, underscore her unique positioning at Fox News.
Since moving into the Fox news primetime lineup, she has been treated to a steady stream of glowing profiles that help Fox market Kelly as "break in the clouds, an interlude of lucidity," between hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, obvious purveyors of misinformation.
But for every one of the "Megyn moments" that show Kelly breaking from the perceived Fox orthodoxy to speak truth to power, there are even more, often subtle examples of her using her platform to advance the core Fox mission.
Cable news networks spent just 12 minutes covering the revelation that Jeb Bush waited seven years to comply with a Florida law requiring him to turn over his private email correspondence, while the same networks devoted hours to reports about Hillary Clinton's use of private email when she served as secretary of state.
Conservative media fabricated perjury charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, demanding to see a copy of a separation form they argued she violated through her use of her personal email. Those same media figures did not demand to see the same form from Colin Powell -- whom State Department officials say did not sign the same form.
From the March 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Rush Limbaugh claimed that "nobody ever denies" Ed Klein's credibility, despite having previously called the discredited journalist's sources into question himself.
Ed Klein dubiously suggested that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett deliberately leaked the Hillary Clinton email story to the media to "sabotage" the possible presidential ambitions of Obama's former secretary of state -- citing anonymous "members of Bill Clinton's camp" and a nameless "source close to the White House" in a March 16 column for the New York Post.
The same day, Rush Limbaugh highlighted Klein's accusation that Jarrett had leaked the story on Clinton's emails, and asserted Klein's credibility claiming that the author has penned many works on Clinton but that "nobody ever denies his stuff":