A Quick Follow On Regarding How The New York Times Inaccurately Framed The Coverage Of Secretary Clinton

I just want to make a quick follow on to Anne Laurie’s post by getting to the real meat of the issue that the New York Times framed the reporting on Secretary Clinton from 23 July 2015 forward by publishing an inaccurate story with a thoroughly misleading headline. Leave all the self defensiveness of different NY Times reporters aside. It is all sound and fury signifying nothing but the all too human self defensiveness when someone is involved with a major screw up.

Since this is going to be long, here’s the Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) since 1/2 the post is going to be after the page jump.

Bottom Line Up Front

  • The New York Times wrote an inaccurate story with a completely misleading headline that framed all future reporting on this issue and which also further framed Secretary Clinton as criminal in her behavior as Secretary of State.
  • As a result the New York Times blew the larger story, which is that US governmental IT is so bad and lagging, not to mention insecure, that utilizing a private server was both not prohibited according to the rules in place at the time that Secretary Clinton became Secretary of State, and that it still isn’t much better.
  • That the real political question, if there really was one, was about political calculus and optics. As in should Secretary Clinton have been considering the potential future political optics when deciding to go with the personal server if she was still considering running for President again in the future?*
  • Reporters, both at the New York Times and other newspapers, networks, and/or platforms DID NOT then and DO NOT now understand classification, classification issues, nor the classification review that occurs when a FOIA request is made!
  • Political reporters did not realize then, and still do not realize now, that they were being manipulated to achieve the aims of Judicial Watch in an attempt to achieve Judicial Watch’s political goals in regard to both Secretary Clinton and the 2016 election.

And now on to the actual post.

The real issue here is that the New York Times got the initial reporting wrong, used a terribly misleading headline, and that almost three years later seemingly NO ONE in the news media, especially the US political news media, still has any understanding of how classification works! This whole mess is the result of reporters not bothering to learn, or acting as if they don’t know, how the actual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process works, including classification review. That whenever a FOIA request is made a review is done to determine if classified information can now be declassified and released pursuant to the request. And, equally importantly, that material that was deemed unclassified at the time it was created and/or transmitted should now be retroactively up classified as a result of changed circumstances. Nor did anyone bother to actually investigate that all of this resulted from Judicial Watch weaponizing the FOIA process in an attempt to create just this type of situation, which it could then exploit the political news media in order to achieve Judicial Watch’s own political goals.

On 23 July 2015, the Times then public editor, Margaret Sullivan, wrote an article delineating what and how the Times reporting had gotten wrong:

The story certainly seemed like a blockbuster: A criminal investigation of Hillary Rodham Clinton by the Justice Department was being sought by two federal inspectors general over her email practices while secretary of state.

It’s hard to imagine a much more significant political story at this moment, given that she is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.

The story – a Times exclusive — appeared high on the home page and the mobile app late Thursday and on Friday and then was displayed with a three-column headline on the front page in Friday’s paper. The online headline read “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” very similar to the one in print.

But aspects of it began to unravel soon after it first went online. The first major change was this: It wasn’t really Mrs. Clinton directly who was the focus of the request for an investigation. It was more general: whether government information was handled improperly in connection with her use of a personal email account.

Much later, The Times backed off the startling characterization of a “criminal inquiry,” instead calling it something far tamer sounding: it was a “security” referral.

And the evolving story, which began to include a new development, simply replaced the older version. That development was that several instances of classified information had been found in Mrs. Clinton’s personal email – although, in fairness, it’s doubtful whether the information was marked as classified when she sent or received those emails. Eventually, a number of corrections were appended to the online story, before appearing in print in the usual way – in small notices on Page A2.

But you can’t put stories like this back in the bottle – they ripple through the entire news system.

So it was, to put it mildly, a mess. As a result, I’ve been spending the last couple of days asking how this could happen and how something similar can be prevented in the future. I’ve spoken to the executive editor, Dean Baquet; to a top-ranking editor involved with the story, Matt Purdy; and to the two reporters, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt.

The story developed quickly on Thursday afternoon and evening, after tips from various sources, including on Capitol Hill. The reporters had what Mr. Purdy described as “multiple, reliable, highly placed sources,” including some “in law enforcement.” I think we can safely read that as the Justice Department.

The sources said not only was there indeed a referral but also that it was directed at Mrs. Clinton herself, and that it was a criminal referral. And that’s how The Times wrote it initially.

“We got it wrong because our very good sources had it wrong,” Mr. Purdy told me. “That’s an explanation, not an excuse. We have an obligation to get facts right and we work very hard to do that.”

By Friday afternoon, the Justice Department issued a terse statement, saying that there had been a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information, stating clearly that it was not a criminal referral. Mr. Purdy says he remains puzzled about why the initial inaccurate information was confirmed so clearly. (Update: Other news outlets also got confirmation of the criminal referral as they followed The Times’s story. They did not report, as an earlier version of this post suggested, that she herself was the target of the referral.)

I want to highlight something that I quoted from Sullivan above because I think it is highly significant:

(Update: Other news outlets also got confirmation of the criminal referral as they followed The Times’s story. They did not report, as an earlier version of this post suggested, that she herself was the target of the referral.)

Sullivan clearly recognized that The Times reporting set up all the subsequent reporting. This is significant. Had The Times gotten it right, then the framing would not have been set that there were two criminal referrals for Secretary Clinton made by two Inspectors General regarding her handling of emails. The Times was the initial point of transmission, as the paper of record, for this inaccurate information.

Here’s the actual truth about classified information transmitted to Secretary Clinton by email and therefore through the Clinton server. It was provided, under oath, by former FBI Director Comey to the House Oversight Committee in his public testimony in July 2016. (emphasis mine)

Read more



Breaking News: There Appears To Be An Assault On The Saudi Royal Palace Going On!

At this point it is unclear if this is a coup attempt or something related to Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman’s purge from last November or something else entirely. Moreover, as far as I can tell it isn’t being covered by any of the western news stations or platforms. I’ve just checked CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and Fox – no one is covering this. Neither are their social media feeds.

I honestly have no idea what is actually happening as none of the news media outlets we’d expect to be covering this are.

I’ll update if more information becomes available.

The Jerusalem Post has this brief report:

Gunfire and explosions have been reported outside the home of the Saudi king in Riyadh, the country’s capital. Sources on Twitter have posted photos and videos of the situation and have said that the gunfire is part of a coup attempt. The king has reportedly been evacuated.

The Jerusalem Post has not been able to independently verify these claims.

This is a developing story.

Open thread!



An Update On The Search For A Guadalcanal Veteran

I just wanted to take a minute to update you all on what happened with the search for a Guadalcanal veteran yesterday. As you can imagine we were not the only people on the case, but I pushed Greg Walcott’s lead to the points of contact in the request for assistance yesterday. But I appreciate every lead everyone recommended yesterday.

I received a couple of follow up emails. The first is from the volunteer coordinator at the hospice.

Adam,

Thank you!

We did find someone to speak with our patient, however, I am forwarding all the correspondence I receive to them and allow them to follow through if they choose.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Carol Galione

And this second one is from the Deputy Executive Director at BRiDGES, whose request was tweeted out by the American Legion in NY:

Good evening Adam,

Thank you so much for what you did today!  It is kind and generous. I am bowled over by the response in the veteran community to help a fellow veteran.

At this time the family feels it will be too much for the veteran to speak with another veteran.

I really appreciate your efforts and if the family changes their mind, Hospice will reach out.

Thanks again!

Best,

Lorraine

So you all did good!

Stay sharp!

Open thread.



To Arms, To Arms. The War Has Begun: The Midnight Riders

The Revolutionary War began on 19 April 1775. That evening Paul Revere made his famous ride. But Revere wasn’t the only rider, just the only one to have Longfellow wright a poem about him. There were dozens of other riders that night, each seeking to warn the colonial patriots that the British army was advancing and what route it was taking. One of these others had the longest ride – the 345 miles from the outskirts of Boston to Philadelphia. That rider was Israel Bissell, though in some records he’s referred to as Isaac Bissell.

Bissell, a 23-year-old postal rider when the war broke out on April 19, 1775, rode day and night with little sleep during an exhausting 345-mile journey from Boston’s western edge to Philadelphia. On the first leg, he rode one horse so hard that the animal collapsed and died beneath him as he arrived in Worcester, roughly two hours after leaving Watertown.

“To arms, to arms. The war has begun,” Bissell shouted as he passed through each little town.

(Map 1: Israel Bissell’s Route)

In addition to making his alert at every stop on the Old Post Road, Bissell also brought a message from General Joseph Palmer:

To all the friends of American liberty be it known that this morning before break of day, a brigade, consisting of about 1,000 to 1,200 men landed at Phip’s Farm at Cambridge and marched to Lexington, where they found a company of our colony militia in arms, upon whom they fired without any provocation and killed six men and wounded four others. By an express from Boston, we find another brigade are now upon their march from Boston supposed to be about 1,000. The Bearer, Tryal Russell, is charged to alarm the country quite to Connecticut and all persons are desired to furnish him with fresh horses as they may be needed. I have spoken with several persons who have seen the dead and wounded. Pray let the delegates from this colony to Connecticut see this.

While there has been some historical dispute about whether Bissell made the whole ride or just the leg to Hartford before handing off to another post rider. Regardless, he still made the longest of the midnight rides.

Bissell did eventually get his own poem. In fact he got two.  One written by Gerard Chapman. The other by Clay Perry.

“To arms, to arms. The war has begun!

Stay put!

Open thread.



And Now A Word From The Home Office: Russia Announces The US Position On Future US Sanctions Against Russia

The defenestration of Ambassador Haley continues…

From Tass:

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. The United States has notified Russia through its Embassy in Washington that it will not impose fresh sanctions against Russia for the time being, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry informed TASS on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that the US has notified the Russian embassy that there will be no new sanctions for some time,” he said.

The Washington Post’s Carole Leonnig confirmed this last night:

But it leaves an important question: who was informed first the Russian ambassador in DC or Ambassador Haley?

The US’s position on Russian sanctions has now been officially announced and confirmed by Russia through a Russian state news media outlet.

We are off the looking glass and through the map.

Stay clammy!

Open thread.



Alexandre Bissonnette Was Radicalized By A Who’s Who of American Right Wing Thought Leaders

Alexandre Bissonnette, the Canadian extreme right terrorist who attacked a Quebec City Mosque last year,was radicalized by a who’s who of American right wing thought leaders. Andy Riga from the Montreal Gazette has the details:

When will Ben Shapiro’s rabbi make a statement about how Bissonnette’s actions are unacceptable and that the speech of his congregant, Shapiro, is also outside the acceptable bounds of Modern Orthodox Judaism? How about John Nolte’s, Tucker Carlson’s, Ann Coulter’s, Kellyanne Conway’s, Laura Ingraham’s, Bret Baier’s, Stefan Molyneux’s, John Sexton’s, James Allsup’s, Neil Turner’s, Stephen Bannon’s, Ben Domenech’s, or Robert O’Neill’s priests or ministers or pastors make a statement that Bissonnette’s actions are unacceptable and that the speech of their congregants listed above are outside the acceptable bounds of Roman Catholicism or whatever version of Protestantism these fine, Christian souls practice? When will Breitbart’s or The Federalist’s or Fox News’s or Breitbart’s or Hot Air’s publishers and funders denounce their employees speech and its consequences?

If every Muslim has to denounce every act of terrorism done in the name of Islam, at the very least the spiritual leaders and employers and financial patrons of these enablers and promoters of anti-Muslim terrorism should have to do the same!

Free speech, especially the most controversial and inflammatory speech, is and should continue to be protected. That does NOT, however, mean that engaging in that speech doesn’t come with a price. The hatred, the vitriol, the bigotry, the extremism that these speakers and commenters and authors spew is rightly protected. Those protections do NOT absolve them of the responsibility for the all too predictable outcome of that speech.

Stay toasty!

Open thread.



Even More Breaking News! Sean Hannity Identified By Michael Cohen’s Lawyer As Michael Cohen’s Third Legal Client

Long time listener, first time caller…

Based on the culture of Fox News, Brad Moss’s conjecture seems apt.

And it’s only 3:00 PM EDT!

Updated at 3:30 PM EDT (h/t germy in comments):

Stay frosty!

Open thread.