Just a couple of weeks after CNN happily acquiesced to a quickly improvised "town hall" meeting for President Obama to promote gun control, they once again agreed with the Democrats to provide a "town hall" event with Iowa voters. It was not a debate, where the candidates would spar, but an orderly event to allow all three candidates to promote themselves for a half-hour.
For the most part, it was a night of softballs. CNN carefully prescreened both the questions and the questioners and made it so. The closest thing to a hardball for Hillary Clinton came from young mop-topped Taylor Gipple, a Sanders backer. "I've heard from quite a few people my age that they think you're dishonest, but I'd like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn't there."
After some blather about her chatting with young Iowans, out came the vast right-wing conspiracy talk. CNN enabled Clinton to brush the question with her usual bucket of whitewash. Nothing that's ever become a Clinton scandal is based on reality, she likes to claim, which she can say because the press doesn't push back.
"I've been around a long time. People have thrown all kinds of things at me. And you know I can't keep up with it. I just keep going forward," she lectured young Gipple. "They fall by the wayside. They come up with these outlandish things. They make these charges. I just keep going forward because there's nothing to it. They throw all this stuff at me, and I'm still standing."
The whitewash is especially pushed on millennials, who were toddlers when she was first lady. She tells them she's been a target for decades because she favors progress. "But if you're new to politics, if it's the first time you really paid attention, you go 'Oh my gosh, look at all of this.' And you have to say to yourself, 'Why are they throwing all of that?' Well, I'll tell you why. Because I've been on the front lines of change and progress since I was your age."
Did President Clinton lie under oath about having a sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky? "Outlandish ... there's nothing to it." Hillary Clinton's Whitewater business partners Jim and Susan McDougal went to jail in 1996, despite all her legal work to keep their failing savings and loan afloat, remember? "Outlandish ... there's nothing to it." She destroyed the reputations of Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, women claiming her husband harassed or assaulted them. "Outlandish ... there's nothing to it."
In her half-hour on CNN, Clinton also insisted she did "nothing wrong" with her private email server and there was "nothing new to learn" on Benghazi. Every allegation ever made against her "falls by the wayside," because the media always drop the ball.
By the next morning, CNN's report gave a snippet of Gipple's question about dishonesty, which was then drowned out by Clinton being applauded by the crowd as she said she was for "change and progress" and "fighting to give kids and women and the people who are left out and left behind a chance."
As a cherry on top, CNN issued on an online "Reality Check" on the Democratic candidates they hosted. Everything they investigated for veracity was rated as "True" or "Mostly True." Clinton was "true" in saying America prospered under Bill Clinton and "mostly true" in saying she lobbied other countries to put sanctions on Iran as secretary of state.
They never touched Hillary Clinton's wild-eyed scandal talk. That won't be investigated for dishonesty. Not by CNN.