From the August 26 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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The Boston Globe says columnist John E. Sununu will no longer write about cable and Internet issues because of his financial conflict of interest. Media Matters criticized the paper after it allowed the former Republican senator to complain about the "unnecessary regulation of the internet" without disclosing he has been paid over $750,000 by broadband interests.
In an August 17 column, Sununu attacked the Obama administration for reaching "ever deeper into the economy, pursuing expensive and unnecessary regulation of the internet, carbon emissions, and even car loans." Sununu serves on the board of directors for Time Warner Cable, and is a paid "honorary co-chair" for Broadband for America, which has been supported by broadband providers and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Dan Kennedy, an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University, wrote that Globe Editorial Page Editor Ellen Clegg stated "Sununu has told me he will avoid writing about issues pertaining to cable and internet access because of his seat on the Time Warner Cable board." Clegg reaffirmed that the Globe is "posting bios for our regular freelance op-ed columnists online and linking those bios to their bylines" to provide "more transparency."
She added in her email to Kennedy that Sununu "has also assured me that he will disclose his support of GOP presidential candidate John Kasich in the text of any columns he writes about presidential politics (he is chair of his campaign in New Hampshire.)" Sununu devoted his June 22 column to Donald Trump, writing that he's "running a race where both the chance of winning and the risk of losing are zero." The piece did not note Sununu's ties to Kasich.
Sununu is also an "Adjunct Senior Policy Advisor" for lobbying firm Akin Gump and "advises clients on a wide range of public policy, strategic and regulatory issues" including "policy and regulation." Media Matters has noted that Sununu's Globe columns frequently intersect with Akin Gump's subject areas such as environmental regulation.
An NPR article on the government inquiry into classified emails cited two former government officials to criticize Hillary Clinton's handling of her private email server when she was secretary of state. However, the article did not disclose that the former officials have conservative ties, with one of them advising GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
In the August 19 article, NPR extensively quoted Ron Hosko, who was identified only as previously leading "the FBI's criminal investigative division." Hosko suggested that emails which were sent to Clinton -- and which have since been retroactively classified in an interagency dispute over classification levels -- might represent "serious breaches of national security":
"I think that the FBI will be moving with all deliberate speed to determine whether there were serious breaches of national security here," said Ron Hosko, who used to lead the FBI's criminal investigative division.
He said agents will direct their questions not just at Clinton, but also her close associates at the State Department and beyond.
"I would want to know how did this occur to begin with, who knew, who approved," Hosko said.
NPR did not mention that Hosko is currently the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a right-wing non-profit that claims to defend police officers fighting criminal charges, but which has come under scrutiny for financial ties to other conservative groups, such as the Federalist Society and the American Spectator. The chairman of LELDF is Alfred Regnery, the former president of conservative publisher Regnery Publishing, whileboard members include Ken Cuccinelli, the former Republican nominee for governor of Virginia; J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican politician and senior fellow at the Family Research Council; and Edwin Meese III, a former Reagan administration official who reportedly helped orchestrate the devastating 2013 government shutdown.
In December 2014, Hosko also wrote a column for USA Today arguing that "police weren't the problem in Ferguson." The column blamed the Obama administration and "radical activists" for "exacerbating the problems in Ferguson" and contributing "to an epidemic that will most adversely affect those for whom they claim to advocate."
The NPR article also cited an interview that former NSA Director Michael Hayden gave on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where Hayden said about Clinton's email use: "Put legality aside for just a second, it's stupid and dangerous."
"I've signed on as an adviser to Gov. Bush because he asked me and because he represents what I feel is the right position, which is the Republican internationalist position," Hayden said. "If you're looking for one sentence as to what a new president should do with regard to foreign policy: Get involved, and stay involved."
Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge baselessly compared Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email use as secretary of state to David Petraeus' illegal mishandling of classified materials, claiming like Clinton's emails, "none" of Petraeus' "information was marked as classified, and he was successfully prosecuted." Herridge ignores the fact that Petraeus pleaded guilty to "unlawfully and knowingly" removing classified documents "without authority" to an "unauthorized" location, while Clinton's email practices were in line with State Department regulations, and there's no evidence that Clinton was aware of any classified information in her unmarked email correspondence. From the August 17 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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The Boston Globe continues to publish columns by former Republican Sen. John E. Sununu that carry massive conflicts of interest. The Globe today allowed Sununu to advocate against "unnecessary regulation" of the Internet and coal power plants without noting his financial ties to those industries.
Sununu wrote in his August 17 column that "Obama's bureaucrats reach ever deeper into the economy, pursuing expensive and unnecessary regulation of the internet." Sununu and the Globe did not disclose that he is the highly-paid honorary co-chair of Broadband for America, an organization whose members have included major broadband providers and has been heavily funded by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Sununu also serves on the board of directors for Time Warner Cable (TWC), which fights Internet regulation. TWC wrote in its 2014 annual report that "'Net neutrality' regulation or legislation could limit TWC's ability to operate its business profitably and to manage its broadband facilities efficiently and could result in increased taxes and fees imposed on TWC." It added that "TWC's business is subject to extensive governmental regulation, which could adversely affect its operations." TWC is merging with Charter Communications, pending regulatory approval.
In his column, Sununu also criticized the Obama administration for environmental regulations, writing that at the "EPA as elsewhere, arrogant leadership and incompetent bureaucracy are a dangerous combination. Today, America's coal plants have never been cleaner, our nuclear plants have never been safer, and the evolution of fracking (a 40-year-old technology) has driven down energy costs to their lowest levels in decades."
Akin Gump, the largest Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, lists Sununu as an "Adjunct Senior Policy Advisor" who "advises clients on a wide range of public policy, strategic and regulatory issues" including "policy and regulation." Akin Gump's policy and regulation page lists subpractices such as "Energy Regulation, Markets and Enforcement," "Environment and Natural Resources," and "Environmental Permitting and Approvals."
Akin Gump's policy and regulation page states that their clients include the coal industry. They write elsewhere in the "environmental litigation" section of their site that "Akin Gump's environmental lawyers remain at the forefront of the defense of coal-fired power plants sued as part of EPA's Utility Enforcement Initiative."
Media Matters previously noted that Sununu has written about issues related to Akin Gump's business practices without disclosing his role in the firm. The Boston Globe told Media Matters in 2012 that Sununu's role with Akin Gump was "very limited" and "We looked into whether he should make some sort of blanket disclosure, but it doesn't seem warranted by the small amount of work he does for the firm."
UPDATE: Reached by phone by Media Matters' Joe Strupp, Editorial Page Editor Ellen Clegg said she's on vacation and hasn't "read this column closely." She said the Globe plans to include online biographical sketches that "should help readers learn more about who the freelance contributors are and opt for more disclosure. They will be able to link to the italicized tagline at the bottom. It's been in the works for some time. Our contract with freelancers requires that they disclose conflicts of interest. We rely on them to push it out. We're going to disclose board memberships and consulting gigs and other paid work as well as books they've written and things like that." She said that "on this particular column, we'll link to the bio sketch when it's up."
Asked how the Globe would address the print edition of columns -- Sununu's column ran in the print edition, according to the Nexis database -- Clegg said she'll "take a look at it" and "we do require that [disclosure] when we think it's warranted."
Fox News suggested that Hillary Clinton must have known her emails were classified when she received them during her tenure as secretary of state because they contained satellite imagery and signal intelligence. But officials say that the emails don't include any form of "sensitive sourcing" and may not have been classified at the time she received them.
Conservative media outlets are trying to cash in on Donald Trump's presidential run through paid email solicitations.
The Washington Post reported, "Newsmax Media has reached out to owners of conservative e-mail lists with a request to help raise money for Trump -- all while allowing them to keep 30 percent of what's contributed to the candidate."
The Post wrote that Newsmax sent an email stating the "Trump team is willing to pay 3rd party email list owners like yourself 30 percent of gross donations made to your email list" and "we think this will be highly profitable." Newsmax said they could provide sample Trump banners, links, and emails, and added that "these are considered paid ads, and don't imply an endorsement on the part of Newsmax or by any third party affiliate like yourself for the Trump campaign."
The Daily Caller, Dick Morris, Michael Reagan, PJ Media, and Herman Cain have sent paid email fundraising solicitations on behalf of the Trump campaign to their newsletter subscribers, according to a Media Matters search of its newsletter archive. Morris and Reagan state their emails came via Newsmax. The Caller, Cain and PJ Media emails do not mention Newsmax (the Post, which noted Cain's email, said Newsmax wouldn't confirm if Cain sent the Trump email through them). The emails sent by the outlets appear to work off the same "Urgent Letter from Donald Trump" template referenced in the Newsmax solicitation highlighted by the Post.
An August 10 email sent by Dick Morris, for instance, asked after the Fox News debate: "Trump or Megyn? Show Your Support for Donald." A notice at the bottom notes that Morris "is represented exclusively by Newsmax Media."
Newsmax is also peddling Trump's "Make America Great Again" hat as a bonus for signing up for a trial subscription to its magazine.
Breitbart has been accused of accepting financial backing from Trump in exchange for positive coverage, a charge the outlet denies.
It's not clear why the campaign of a billionaire who has said he's rich enough to self-fund and doesn't "need anybody's money" has to solicit donations. Media Matters has frequently documented how much of the conservative media is trying to cash-in on their followers.
Fox News repeatedly failed to disclose that its debate analyst Marc Thiessen has worked for debate participant Scott Walker. During his Fox appearances, Thiessen praised Walker as one of the "obvious winners" and singled him out as having a "great" debate moment.
During an August 6 appearance shortly after the debate, Thiessen said "Bush and Walker I think did very well." Thiessen also said Christie fared well. He criticized Trump as having a "really, really tough night."
Host Megyn Kelly, who moderated the debate, identified Thiessen as "the former chief presidential speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a Fox News contributor."
Thiessen also heavily praised Walker during an August 7 appearance on America's Newsroom, claiming that "the obvious winners are Bush and Walker because they were in the lead so they didn't need to hit home runs, and they both put in strong performances, especially Walker, I think, had a great moment when he took on -- jumped in and took on Hillary Clinton, which, I think, there was not enough of that in the debate last night."
Fox News host Bill Hemmer identified Thiessen as a Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor. Like Kelly, he did not identify Thiessen's conflict of interest.
The Washington Post, where Thiessen works as a columnist, reported on March 6 that "Walker is also seeking counsel from several hawks from George W. Bush's administration -- including Abrams, Bush's deputy national security adviser, and Marc A. Thiessen, a Post columnist and former Bush speechwriter known for his staunch defense of waterboarding and other interrogation tactics barred by President Obama. Walker selected Thiessen to co-write his 2013 book, 'Unintimidated,' and the two men became confidants during hours of Skype conversations each weekend."
Politico reported in February that Walker "said he sat down for three-and-a-half hours of foreign policy meetings" including with Thiessen.
New York Daily News Washington Bureau reporter Cameron Joseph criticized Fox News on Twitter, writing: "Curious how Marc Thiessen can be on Fox right now analyzing the debate. He co-wrote Scott Walker's book, and they don't even ID him as such."
From the August 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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After three months, Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the Fox News Primary. Trump has more appearances (31) and far more airtime (4 hours and 45 minutes) than any other Republican presidential contender.
For the month of July, Trump (2 hours and 5 minutes) actually placed second in airtime to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2 hours and 12 minutes), but Jindal's total is inflated due to a handful of breaking news appearances he made in the wake of the July 23 shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The stakes in this cycle's Fox Primary are higher than ever, due in large part to the rules for Fox News' August 6 debate. In May, the network announced that only 10 candidates would be featured in the debate, selected based on national polls that the network would choose.
Fox News has faced substantial criticism for the debate rules from several candidates, Republican activists, and media critics for essentially seizing control of the nominating process and undermining the importance of the early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. (Multiple Fox personalities have taken to labeling the network's debate the first actual primary of the cycle.)
In a Los Angeles Times column branding Fox News a "GOP primary gatekeeper," Doyle McManus cited GOP strategists who argued that due to the debate rules, candidates would be "even more desperate to boost their name recognition -- by appearing on Fox News."
That has certainly been the case -- from May 1 through July 31, 17 Republican presidential candidates made a combined 273 appearances on Fox News, totaling more than 39 hours of airtime. (Note: Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced his candidacy on July 30 -- for the purposes of this study, Media Matters included only appearances that occurred after his announcement. He will be fully included in future months.)
Through three months, Trump's 4 hours and 45 minutes of airtime far exceeds the second place candidate, former Fox News host Mike Huckabee, who has appeared for 3 hours and 21 minutes. Huckabee is followed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (3 hours and 12 minutes), Gov. Jindal (3 hours and 8 minutes) and Carly Fiorina (2 hours and 47 minutes).
Trump, whose constant presence on Fox News has likely aided his rise to first place in Republican primary polls, has caused a rift among conservative media figures, including within Fox News. Last month, New York magazine reported that Rupert Murdoch had asked Fox News head Roger Ailes to have the network "back off the Trump coverage," which Ailes refused to do.
If appearance data is any indication, Ailes is winning that fight (though CNN reported yesterday that Murdoch and Trump recently spoke on the phone as part of a "peace making effort"):
(This chart has been revised to fix an error.)
For July, the candidates made 132 appearances for more than 19 hours of airtime, a significant increase over May (68 appearances over 8 hours of airtime) and June (73 appearances over almost 12 hours of airtime). Four candidates -- Huckabee, Jindal, Perry, and Trump -- tied for first place with 13 appearances each. Those four also had the most airtime:
Since the beginning of May, Hannity has featured both the most candidate appearances (52) and the most airtime (9 hours and 50 minutes).
During a February appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Hannity told the crowd, "On both my radio and television program on the Fox News Channel I promise you this: As somebody who has not made up his mind, I am going to give access to every single solitary candidate as often as I can, as often as they'll come. By the end of the process, I will ask them every question I can possibly think of."
He wasn't bluffing. Hannity's show has featured hour-long, post-announcement interviews with nine candidates: Perry, Bush, Trump, Christie, Santorum, Walker, Jindal, Kasich, and Fiorina. His program has also featured more than twice as much airtime with candidates as Fox & Friends, which has been the second most-frequent destination for candidates. (Hannity's lead is even more substantial considering his show airs for only an hour, compared to the three-hour Fox & Friends.)
In July, Hannity featured by far the most appearances (35) and total airtime (5 hours and 20 minutes). Special Report finished second in airtime with 2 hours and 21 minutes over nine candidate interviews:
This month, the Fox Primary competition also bled into commercial breaks, as candidates and the groups supporting them spent millions on Fox News ad time hoping to increase their national profile ahead of the debate. (This time was not included in candidate airtime data.)
Most Total Airtime In July: Bobby Jindal (2 hour and 12 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In July: Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Donald Trump (13 appearances each)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In July: Hannity (5 hours and 20 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In July: Hannity (35 appearances)
Softball Question of the Month: On the July 13 edition of Hannity, the host asked Walker this:
HANNITY: Have you been able to decode the president and his inability to say "radical Islamic terrorism"? Why can't he say that?
WALKER: It is mind-boggling! And you can't -- you can't fight the enemy unless you can identify it. This is, indeed, radical Islamic terrorism. It comes in many forms, be it ISIS or al Qaeda or other elements out there. But we need to recognize that.
And you know, in Iraq, it's a good example. It's not just ISIS. It's not just the Islamic State. The Iran-backed Shi'ite militias that are in there are, I think, in many ways, a very similar problem we face there. We see their impact not only in Iraq. We see it obviously in Syria. We've seen it in the last few months. And I mean, the president still even to last year, his administration was calling Yemen a success story. The Houthis are directly connected to Iran out there -
HANNITY: In Yemen.
WALKER: -- Iran is not -- right, in Yemen with the Houthis there. That is not a place we should be doing business with. And we need to identify the enemy, and the enemy is radical Islamic terrorism in many different forms.
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (4 hour and 45 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (31 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (9 hours and 50 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (52 appearances)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30.
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel and Fox News Sunday for the 17 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Note: Starting in August, we added all weekend programming to the study. For full data including weekends and a revised methodology, click here.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
From the August 3 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live:
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On the August 3 edition of CBS This Morning, CBS News allowed contributor and Republican strategist Frank Luntz to defend Republican presidential candidates courting donors at an event hosted by the Koch brothers without disclosing that he has previously advised Koch-affiliated groups. The Koch brothers have used Luntz as a messaging consultant for years, dating back to the 2010 election cycle, and including messaging advice for Americans for Prosperty and Freedom Partners.
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New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan agreed with concerns that the paper subjects Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to tougher scrutiny than other 2016 contenders, promising to evaluate the Times' future coverage of Clinton for its fairness.
Sullivan already strongly criticized the paper on July 27 for its now twice-corrected report that relied on anonymous sourcing to claim that two inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into Clinton's email use. In reality, the probe was not criminal and was not focused on Clinton personally. The faulty report, for which Sullivan condemned the Times' for running a "sensational" story with "major journalistic problems" before it was ready and for not being transparent with readers about revisions, is still facing heavy criticism from veteran journalists.
On August 1, Sullivan highlighted critiques from readers and media observers who expressed concern that the error-riddled Clinton email story reveals the Times' pattern of taking "an unfairly critical edge" against Clinton, and Sullivan agreed (emphasis added):
Arlene Williams, a longtime subscriber, wrote and objected to "what I see as jaded coverage concerning Hillary Clinton." News articles and opinion columns are "just consistently negative," she said. And Ben Lieberman of Acton, Mass., said The Times seemed to be "on a mission to cut her down to size."
These readers aren't alone. The press critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen wrote on Twitter: "I have resisted this conclusion over the years, but after today's events it's fair to say the Times has a problem covering Hillary Clinton." Rachel Maddow said last week on MSNBC that the attitude of the national press corps, including The Times, is, "Everything Hillary Clinton does is a scandal." And James Fallows of The Atlantic called what he sees as a Times "Clinton vendetta" a "serious lapse," linking to a letter the Clinton campaign wrote in response to the Times story.
Mr. Purdy and the executive editor, Dean Baquet, insist that this scrutiny is necessary and that it is being done fairly. Because Mrs. Clinton stirs such strong emotions, they say, there are bound to be unending complaints from both her supporters and detractors.
But I agree with this sentiment from a reader, Evan Hannay, who is troubled by some of the Clinton coverage: "Hillary deserves tough questions when they are warranted. But it is undeniable that she is already facing significantly tougher coverage than any other potential candidate." He thinks The Times should make "a promise to readers going forward that Hillary is not going to be treated unfairly as she so often is by the media."
Last Thursday, I handed Mr. Baquet a printed copy of Mr. Hannay's email and asked him to address it.
To that end, he told me that he has urged reporters and editors to focus anew on issues stories. And he pledged fairness. "I'm happy to make a promise that she'll be treated fairly," he said, though he added, "If you look at our body of work, I don't believe we have been unfair." One testament to that, he said, was an investigative piece written by David Kirkpatrick shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attacks, with conclusions seen as favorable for Mrs. Clinton, who was then secretary of state. It came under heavy attack from the right.
But the Times's "screw-up," as Mr. Baquet called it, reinforces the need for reporters and their editors to be "doubly vigilant and doubly cautious."
Times readers (and on their behalf, I, too) will be watching and evaluating that over the next months. No one should expect a free ride for Mrs. Clinton. But she certainly deserves a fair shake.
The New York Times' Maureen Dowd's latest tired attack on Hillary Clinton involves a lengthy comparison of the Democratic presidential candidate to disgraced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Dowd spent nearly half of her August 1 column spearing Clinton with dubious pseudo-scandals and comparisons to quarterback Tom Brady, recently suspended from four NFL games for his role in the use of deflated footballs in January's AFC championship game. "It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think," Dowd claimed, calling the two "[a] pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win." She went on:
Brady had his assistant terminate his Samsung phone the day before he talked to an investigator about Deflategate. Hillary set up a home-brew private server, overruling the concerns of her husband's aides, and erased 30,000 emails before the government had a chance to review them to see if any were classified.
Brady and Hillary, wanting to win at all costs and believing the rules don't apply to them, are willing to take the hit of people not believing them, calculating that there is no absolute proof.
They both have a history of subterfuge -- Brady and the Patriots with Spygate, Hillary with all her disappearing and appearing records.
In stretching to link Clinton to Brady, Dowd echoes right-wing media pundits desperate to spin any news into an attack on the leading Democratic presidential candidate. Such attacks are old territory for Dowd. For more than 20 years, Dowd has been attempting to smear Clinton by any means necessary, even stooping to pushing sexist tropes and taunting nicknames. According to a Media Matters analysis of 195 of Dowd's columns written during her tenure at the Times, more than 70 percent painted Clinton in a negative light.
The New York Times' latest botched story on emails from former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shows why reporters shouldn't trust leaks from anonymous partisan sources, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote in an August 1 op-ed in The Huffington Post.
Cummings, the ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, detailed how the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks "has been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack" Clinton. The Times' recent rush to rely on anonymous "Capitol Hill" sourcing falsely claiming Clinton was the target of a potential criminal investigation -- which resulted in the paper having to issue multiple corrections and answer questions about its credibility -- is only the most recent example of reporters failing to verify information from anonymous sources when it comes to Clinton:
Congressional investigations into the attacks in Benghazi have been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many of these attacks rely on anonymous sources to describe -- and often mischaracterize -- documents reporters have not seen.
Last week, the New York Times fell victim to this ploy, reporting that "[t]wo inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information."
I believe the Times' errors, like many before them, could have been avoided. I learned the truth on Thursday -- before the Times' story ran.
The Times' Executive Editor has suggested that its reporters could not have done anything differently because they relied on anonymous senior government officials, which the paper's Public Editor later explained included tips from "Capitol Hill."
I disagree. The Times could have insisted on seeing the documents they were describing. Or, if the Times spoke with Republicans in Congress, even off the record, they could have checked their facts with me or other Committee Democrats.
Unfortunately, this rush to print anonymous, unverified claims against Secretary Clinton is not unique.
Just last month, Politico was forced to correct a front-page story that relied on an anonymous source who apparently provided doctored information about an email that was produced to the Select Committee, rather than seeing the documents or contacting my office. Chairman Gowdy refused to investigate or condemn this leak.
Similarly, in May 2013, an anonymous source provided a description of an email from NSC staffer Ben Rhodes that misrepresented statements he made about the Benghazi talking points. CNN ultimately reviewed the email and reported that the information had been "seemingly invented" by the source.
Reporters have an obligation to ask why these sources demand to remain anonymous while refusing to provide copies of the documents they are peddling. No scoop should be too good to verify.
But the core problem is that these anonymous sources have an agenda, which is to manufacture facts to attack Secretary Clinton.