The Hill Uncritically Repeats Judicial Watch's Clinton Email Smear

Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

UPDATE: Following the publication of this post, The Hill added the following editor's note to the article: "This story was corrected on March 23 to reflect that the 'commitments to action' included non-monetary assistance. A previous version contained incorrect information."

The article previously read:

A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

It now reads (emphasis added):

A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that it says show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation. 

Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to organizations who had made a commitment to help the Clinton Global Initiative. Those "commitments to action" can include donations and non-monetary assistance, according to the Foundation's website.

Original post:

The Hill uncritically reported the latest smear from the conservative organization Judicial Watch, suggesting inappropriate behavior involving Hillary Clinton's emails and the Clinton Global Initiative.

On March 22, The Hill reported that Judicial Watch released documents which showed "Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) project donors in 2009." The Hill claimed that "Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009":

A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

[...]

Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009.

"This is an exceptional gathering of people who have made exceptional commitments to bettering our world," she said on September 25, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y.

In reality, Clinton did not discuss donors in her speech, and the emails in question show that the "commitments" The Hill describes as donors are in fact organizations promising a commitment to action to address issues and CGI initiatives around the globe. On the CGI website, "Commitments to Action" are described as, "a plan for addressing a significant global challenge. Commitments can be small or large and financial or nonmonetary in nature."

The Hill's uncritical reporting on Judicial Watch's claims are not the first time the group's anti-Clinton smears have been parroted by the media. In September 2015, The New York Times also fell for Judicial Watch's chicanery, only to be forced several days later to correct the false report. 

Judicial Watch has also peddled in conspiracy theories claiming the Department of Justice was organizing rallies against George Zimmerman, that ISIS set up a terrorist camp "just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," and it was also a leading voice in the false outrage over President Obama's "czars."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The Hill, Judicial Watch
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2016 Elections
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