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Media commentators are criticizing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for reviving the “absurd” and “kooky” conspiracy theory that the Clintons were involved in the death of former White House aide Vince Foster.
Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.
Media are pointing to Sen. Marco Rubio's March 15 announcement that he is suspending his campaign to explain that the Republican National Committee's strategy to reach out to minority voters -- established in the committee's so-called "autopsy report" of the 2012 election -- "was spectacularly undone by Donald Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance."
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National Journal's Ron Fournier and CNN's Jake Tapper each admitted that they failed to cover the crisis involving Flint, Michigan's water supply until recently.
In a January 20 National Journal column headlined "How Government--and This Columnist--Failed Flint," Fournier acknowledged that he "blew it" by failing to bring up Flint's ongoing water crisis in a December 2015 column about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's "refreshing approach to politics." By December, Snyder had already been widely criticized for his handling of the situation, which has resulted in children across the city suffering from lead poisoning.
From Fournier's January 20 column, in which he also pointed to a broader failure on the part of the media to cover the crisis:
Like the story about Johnny Whitmire, the scandal in Flint is a reminder of how government and other institutions fail.
--Arrogant leadership, with a lack transparency, follow-up, and singular attention to mission.
--Lack of power at the bottom of society's brutal pecking order. This would not have happened in a wealthy city like Traverse City, Michigan, or Snyder's hometown of Ann Arbor.
--Finally, a lack of oversight from traditional institutions. Where was the state legislature and Congress? Where was the media? Why did a scientist in Virginia crack the case with a FOIA request, rather than an investigative journalist?
For that matter, why did I write a column about Snyder's leadership that didn't even mention Flint? There's no good answer, no excuse. I took my eye off the ball. I blew it.
In addition, during an interview with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on the January 20 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, Tapper apologized for failing to cover the Flint crisis over the many months that it was becoming worse and worse. After promising to "shame" Snyder or President Obama if they don't provide Weaver with "the response you need," Tapper admitted, "I'm sorry that it took us so long to get on this story."
From the January 20 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:
Media outlets called out both Republican presidential candidates and CNN for "resort[ing] to scare tactics" during the December 15 presidential debate, lamenting the fact that "fear and terror stole the Republican debate stage."
Media figures across the ideological spectrum are condemning Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, calling it "dangerous," a violation of the First Amendment, and "fascistic." Trump's proposal builds on previous calls from Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush to exclude Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
CNN, Fox, NBC, and ABC All Mentioned Former Staffer's Accusation That The Benghazi Probe "Has Become A Partisan Investigation"
CBS' Face the Nation was the sole network news Sunday political talk show to ignore the claims of a former staffer for the House Select Committee on Benghazi alleging that the committee has turned into a "partisan investigation" with a "hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton."
On October 10, The New York Times reported that Bradley Podliska, who worked as an investigator for the Benghazi committee and was allegedly fired unlawfully, accused the committee of focusing "primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton" instead of leading a comprehensive investigation into the September 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
CNN's State of the Union treated the story as breaking news and opened with an exclusive television interview of Podliska. In his CNN interview, Podliska said that the Benghazi probe "has become a partisan investigation," that has shifted its focus "to go after Hillary." On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace questioned Benghazi committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the accusations made by Podliska. On NBC's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd briefly mentioned Podliska's accusations, noting that both Podliska and the Republicans on the committee "agree that Hillary Clinton was being targeted," and asked, "doesn't that hurt the committee?" And on ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz asked Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) about Podliska's statement that "he was fired from that committee because he was told to focus too much on Hillary Clinton instead of finding out answers about Benghazi."
But John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation, failed to mention this news at all. The only mention of Benghazi came from panelist Ron Fournier, who also neglected to mention this news story, despite bringing up both Clinton and Benghazi:
RON FOURNIER: Let me talk a little bit about emails if I could, which is her untrustworthy problem, and the Democrats are pointing at Republicans, and McCarthy is saying we just want to bring her down as mitigating for her. We have two sets of facts. One is, we know that the Republican Party did everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton with Benghazi -- hyper-partisan Republican Party. And they caught Hillary Clinton red handed creating a improper covert server that undermined the Freedom of Information Act, that subverted legislative oversight, and jeopardized U.S. secrets.
Both of those things can be true. As a matter of fact, both of those things are true, but the Democrats try to use the one thing to mitigate them, and the Republicans try to use the other to mitigate them. And meanwhile, both parties think that - most voters think that the leaders of the parties are lying to them, because they are.
Is there a "right way" and a "wrong way" to win elections? Is it "too easy" for presidential candidates to simply win more electoral votes than their opponents? Or are they responsible, for the sake of our democracy, to try to win big?
That odd debate was sparked this week by the New York Times in a widely, widely ridiculed article that seemed to chastise Hillary Clinton's campaign for not trying to win over swing voters and voters in deeply red, Republican states. Despite the ridicule, the "narrow path" critique was quickly embraced by columnists David Brooks at the Times and Ron Fournier at National Journal, who attached ethical implications to the campaign strategy.
Fournier complained that simply winning more votes than your opponent in 2016 is definitely the "wrong way" to get elected. "It's not the right path." Brooks agreed, insisting that by not spending an inordinate amount of time, money and resources chasing swing voters, Clinton would be making a "mistake." Worse, it's "bad" for "the country."
Sure, she might be elected. Sure she might be able to lead the country in a direction she wants and beat back Republican initiatives she thinks are bad for the country. But it would all still be a terrible "mistake," according to Brooks.
Why? The optics wouldn't be right. It's too "easy." Because entire presidencies are now determined by how elections are won. If races are won the "wrong" way, the four-year term is a waste. Because national elections in a deeply divided nation are supposed to be unifying events. Or something. (Did I mention this "narrow path" critique has been widely, widely ridiculed?)
But here's the thing: The campaign tactic of getting out the core supporters to vote in big numbers not only proved hugely successful for President Barack Obama, which means the Clinton team would be foolish to not try to replicate it, but that strategy was first championed by Karl Rove during President George Bush's 2004 re-election run. And guess what? The Beltway press toasted Rove as a political genius for the so-called "base" blueprint.
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Media figures are exploiting the feeding frenzy over Hillary Clinton's email to engage in wild speculation, including wondering if she committed a felony. Numerous independent legal analysts have said that Clinton did not violate the law through her use of a non-government email account.
Offering up some advice to the political press corps as it prepares to cover the 2016 presidential campaign, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently stressed that reporters and pundits ought to take a deep breath when big stories broke; to not immediately promote stumbles and campaign missteps to be more urgent and damaging than they really are.
"We may wish certain snags were roadblocks and certain missteps collapses, because we think they should be or they're sexier that way," wrote Bruni.
That was in his February 28 column. Four days later Bruni abandoned his own advice.
Pouncing on the controversy surrounding which email account Hillary Clinton used while serving as secretary of state, Bruni tossed his counsel for caution to the wind and treated the email development as an instant game changer and even wondered if the revelation indicated Clinton had a political "death wish."
But that fits the long-running pattern of the D.C. media's Clinton treatment: Over-eager journalists hungry for scandal can't even abide by the advice they dispensed four days prior. Or maybe Bruni simply meant that his advice of caution was supposed to apply only to Republican candidates. Because it's certainly not being applied to Hillary and the email kerfuffle coverage.
Instead, "The media and politicos and Twitterati immediately responded with all the measured cautious skepticism we've come to expect in response to any implication of a Clinton Scandal," noted Wonkette. "That is to say, none."
Just look how the very excitable Ron Fournier at National Journal rushed in after the email story broke and announced Clinton should probably just forget about the whole running-for-president thing. Why preemptively abandon an historic run? Because she may reveal herself to be "seedy," "sanctimonious," "self-important," and "slick." This, after Fournier denounced Bill and Hillary Clinton two weeks ago for their "stupid" and "sleazy" actions.
That seems like a temperate way for a Beltway columnist to write about presidential campaigns, right? Then again, both Fournier and Bruni drew a straight line from the unfolding email story to Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair nearly 20 years ago, which strikes me as odd, if not downright bizarre.
"As long as she's a national figure--and especially when she runs for president--Hillary Clinton will get more scrutiny than anyone else in the field," wrote Jamelle Bouie at Slate this week. (The press is also slow to react when holes in the email stories appear.)
Scrutiny is certainly part of the campaign equation and no candidate should be sealed off from it. What I'm highlighting is how Clinton scrutiny is so often wrapped in an almost a high school brand of social contempt.
After President Obama repeated the assessment of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, of the intelligence community's initial view on the threat posed by the Islamic State, media are accusing Obama of "throwing the intelligence community under the bus."