In 2009, the Washington Post ran dozens of stories on the burning issue of Bob McDonnell's grad school thesis. Week after week, Post reporters and editors cranked out investigatory pieces on the academic paper the Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee penned back in 1989, which touched on issues such as women in the workplace and same-sex marriage. Democrats piled on, making The Thesis a central element of their campaign. McDonnell ended up winning a blowout victory, despite the Post's obsessive crusade. (His subsequent public corruption conviction has been thrown out, and it was announced this week that he will not be retried). Today, the same publication that engineered flood-the-zone coverage of a decades-old masters thesis -- and that famously blew the lid off the red hot scoop that Rick Perry's family had hunted at a ranch where a racially-inflammatory word was painted on a rock in the early 1980's -- is scolding the media for focusing too much attention on Hillary Clinton's email scandal. That would be the same ongoing scandal about which one of the most devastating exposes was researched and printed by none other than...the Washington Post in March. But now, such scrutiny is giving WaPo's liberal editorial board the vapors. This is truly pathetic, and bordering on disgraceful:
JUDGING BY the amount of time NBC’s Matt Lauer spent pressing Hillary Clinton on her emails during Wednesday’s national security presidential forum, one would think that her homebrew server was one of the most important issues facing the country this election. It is not. There are a thousand other substantive issues — from China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea to National Security Agency intelligence-gathering to military spending — that would have revealed more about what the candidates know and how they would govern. Instead, these did not even get mentioned in the first of 5½ precious prime-time hours the two candidates will share before Election Day, while emails took up a third of Ms. Clinton’s time. Sadly, Mr. Lauer’s widely panned handling of the candidate forum was not an aberration...In fact, Ms. Clinton’s emails have endured much more scrutiny than an ordinary person’s would have, and the criminal case against her was so thin that charging her would have been to treat her very differently.
Ms. Clinton is hardly blameless. She treated the public’s interest in sound record-keeping cavalierly. A small amount of classified material also moved across her private server. But it was not obviously marked as such, and there is still no evidence that national security was harmed. Ms. Clinton has also admitted that using the personal server was a mistake. The story has vastly exceeded the boundaries of the facts. Imagine how history would judge today’s Americans if, looking back at this election, the record showed that voters empowered a dangerous man because of .?.?. a minor email scandal.
Again, this harangue comes from the editors of a newspaper who devoted enormous amounts of reporting resources and column inches to beating the drum on a graduate school paper that a candidate for governor had written decades ago. Yet they cannot abide the supposedly disproportionate attention paid to the egregiously reckless, very recent conduct of a Secretary of State who is now seeking the presidency. Their whitewash of the seriousness of the issue is embarrassing. Mrs. Clinton's misconduct goes far beyond 'cavalier record-keeping:' She set up an entire unsecure private server (which Colin Powell emphatically did not, despite the editors' cynical effort to draw a false equivalence to his actions) on which she improperly conducted all official business. She then deleted thousands of work-related emails that were wrongly withheld from a federal court-ordered document release, as her team began permanently scrubbing her email archives shortly after the existence of the server was first made public -- while elements of said archive were under active Congressional subpoena.
She had sworn under penalty of perjury that every official email had been produced. Not even close. The Post says that "a small amount of classified material moved across her private server." Setting aside her totally false public insistence that her server contained zero classified material whatsoever, it turns out that more than 2,000 classified emails had in fact passed through her system, including many that were top secret and above at the time they were sent and received. Some messages remain so sensitive to national security that the State Department refuses to release even redacted versions of them.
In contrast with another oft-repeated Clinton claim, there is evidence that her server was breached by an outside actor, and everyone from the FBI director to the former Secretary of Defense to the former acting director of the CIA agree it's highly likely that hostile foreign powers like China, Russia and Iran had full access to the reams of classified information in her shockingly under-protected emails. "No evidence that national security was harmed," the Post sniffs, repeating the "not obviously marked" canard that has been obliterated from multiple angles. This is all just a "minor email scandal," they sigh, begging the media to stop asking so many questions about her scheme. One would think that at the very least, journalists' collective interest would be piqued by a presidential candidate who has brazenly and verifiably lied about almost every single element of this controversy, latching on to new and sometimes contradictory spin as previous explanations are knocked down by the facts. Not in the Washington Post's editorial conference room; no sir. They're weary and angry over all of this irritating "accountability" that has benefited the candidate whom they're openly rooting against.
Hillary Clinton has premised her candidacy on the argument that she's the most experienced and competent person ever to seek the office. Her email scandal -- new revelations about which have been painstakingly dragged out from behind the Clintons' stonewall over many months, via lawsuits and court orders -- demonstrates that Clinton is at best stunningly incompetent and unconcerned with her solemn duties to safeguard state secrets. It has also helped expose her habitual willingness to lie openly to the American people, and to dodge press conferences for hundreds of days at a time. The Washington Post's editors look at all of this and become furious. Not with her, of course, but with those benighted miscreants who think her pattern of behavior might represent a threshold or disqualifying flaw for someone who now wants access to the deepest secrets on the planet. It's time to get over all of that nonsense and focus on what really matters. Speaking of which, isn't it about time for a multi-byline, deep dive series on Donald Trump's golf scores? I'll leave you with this new development. Just another outrageous distraction from the Important Stuff:
"And the WaPo thinks the story has run its course," Steve Hayes snarks.