Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The swift-boating of Hillary Clinton?

By Richard Barry

We are now starting to hear about a new book by Peter Schweizer called “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” It will be released May 5th.

One reason it is making headlines is because various major media outlets, including Fox News, The Washington Post, and the New York Times, have made "exclusive agreements" with the author to pursue stories contained therein.

Amy Chozick at the Times writes that “Clinton Cash” purports to expose how “foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.”

Those defending Mrs. Clinton point out that Schweizer comes at things from a decidedly conservative perspective and has a documented track record of getting important things wrong.

Erik Wemple at The Washington Post contacted people at three of the major media outlets involved to discuss what the "exclusive agreements" entailed. The National Editor at his own paper, Cameron Barr, said this:
We made an arrangement with Peter Schweizer’s publisher so we could read his book before publication because we are always willing to look at new information that could inform our coverage. Mr. Schweizer’s background and his point of view are relevant factors, but not disqualifying ones. What interests us more are his facts and whether they can be the basis for further reporting by our own staff that would be compelling to our readers. There is no financial aspect to this arrangement.

Well, what could be wrong with that? Maybe nothing. Or maybe giving someone credibility out of the gate who doesn't deserve it is a problem.

In an interview with Rachel Maddow below, David Brock calls what Schweizer is up to "swift-boating," which is a term we all remember well. And for a long time we have also known that if you repeat a lie often enough, it starts to feel like the truth to too many.

Perhaps Hillary and Bill Clinton have done some things that are problematic. If so, I hope that comes out.  But I am also sure that the anti-Hillary machine, and all the money behind it, will make up what they can't prove.  I just hope "serious" media outlets don't help them do it. 

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