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The Real Collusion Scandal of the 2016 Campaign

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
(AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File)

Four years ago this week, the leftists at WikiLeaks tried to ruin the Democratic convention by posting a trove of emails exposing how the Democratic National Committee blatantly favored Hillary Clinton and tilted against Bernie Sanders. But even then, the media downplayed the juiciest tidbits for conservatives: emails in Clinton aide John Podesta's account that demonstrated how shamelessly reporters and Democrats work hand in hand to shape the "news." Some might even say it sounds fake. For example:


1. ABC's George Stephanopoulos harshly interviewed "Clinton Cash" author Peter Schweizer on his Sunday show on April 26, 2015. In an email, Clinton campaign staffer Jesse Ferguson boasted that Stephanopoulos "refuted" Schweizer and wrote: "Great work everyone. This interview is perfect. He lands nothing and everything is refuted (mostly based on our work)."

Stephanopoulos didn't just donate to The Clinton Foundation. He donated at the office.

2. Maggie Haberman was singled out as a pliant recycler of the Clinton narratives. Podesta wrote: "We have ... a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed."

Now match that with how Haberman is the heroic challenger of all things Donald Trump for The New York Times. She's not a journalist first; she never disappoints at teeing up stories for Democrats.

3. CNBC anchor Becky Quick -- who helped moderate the atrocious CNBC Republican primary debate in 2015 -- made a promise to Podesta after then-President Barack Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell for Health and Human Services secretary, saying she would "make sure to defend her when things get further along in the nomination process."

4. Before the release of a Clinton profile in July 2016, Mark Leibovich of The New York Times Magazine told Clinton communications director Jen Palmieri, "you could veto what you didn't want." At the end of an email, Palmieri listed her vetoes and then shot back like a demanding boss: "Let me know if that is not clear. Working from an iPhone on the plane so am not able to access the transcript to cut and paste."


The Clinton campaign got cut-and-paste privileges!

Leibovich had quoted Clinton talking about eating moose stew and mocking Sarah Palin on her moose chatter. Palmieri instructed: "Fine to use the moose, but appreciate leaving the mention of Sarah Palin out." She also instructed Leibovich to change a Clinton quote about gay rights.

"Pleasure doing business!" Palmieri oozed.

If you think this sort of collusion isn't happening right now between Biden's aides and the journalists who want Trump bounced from office, then you're dreaming. Even worse, CBS brought on Leibovich to discuss WikiLeaks ... and never mentioned any of this!

In February 2016, the website Gawker published a cache of emails between reporters and Clinton PR operative Phillippe Reines. The best example was Marc Ambinder, a longtime ABC and CBS reporter then with The Atlantic.

In July 2009, Clinton was delivering a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambinder wanted an advance copy of the speech. Reines insisted on conditions. "You must describe her tone as 'muscular,' and you must note that her most prominent underlings at the State Department (George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke) would be seated in front of her to convey her command of the staff," he said.

"Got it," Ambinder replied. Later that day, he published a story in which he Xeroxed the Clinton spin right at the top, touting a "muscular speech" Clinton would deliver that day in front of her rival "power centers" in the State Department.


This is how reporters are exploited by anonymous "senior administration officials" to set the table for Democrats, whether they are in power or not.


Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog To find out more about Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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