Facts of life versus politics, hype, opinion & “scandal”

With all the stuff stirred up over Hillary Clinton’s emails–and the hysteria spilling off the pages of usually respectable newspapers–it’s a spritz of tonic to read this terse factual  sentence from the National Law Journal. To repeat, “law.” That is, for all the claims that Clinton broke laws, she didn’t:

Clinton Legal Liability Small In Email Mess

She may pay political price, but technically obeyed law.

Jenna Greene, The National Law Journal    | 

For Hillary Clinton, the public reaction to revelations that she exclusively used a personal email account while serving as secretary of state has been scathing. But any legal consequences are likely to prove negligible, legal experts said.

By the way, this may be the time to mention that when Jeff Gerth wrote what I remember as the first big New York Times article (it ran from the front page over at least a full inside page) on the Whitewater “scandal,” I read the whole thing. Word for word.

I may be the only person in the world who did. And when I finished following Gerth’s ominous, suggestive language through what purported to be a “byzantine” story, I sat back and said, “There’s nothing there.”

And there wasn’t.

The Times–and I bless it every day when I read it thoroughly, because it is a great newspaper–has gotten itself tangled in hyping some of its own investigations that have come to nothing much, or were based on political lies.

I predict that the Clinton Email Scandal, with the unfortunate potential to cause damage to Hillary Clinton, given how badly most people gather facts or ignore them completely for conscientiously dishonest opinionmakers, will go the way of Whitewater, which came to nothing, and the way of Judith Miller’s crapola that heralded our invasion of Iraq. Which has come to much, much more than nothing.

And please note: I am not thrusting this story into my global war against women category. This is dumb politics by dumb politicians, and by smart journalists who really, really should know better.

UPDATE 3/16/2015. What a coincidence! I just found this story from Media Matters, about how Howard Kurtz, on Fox, is misleading viewers about Jeff Gerth’s New York Times story on Whitewater. Please see above, about my comments the other day concerning exactly this report. And then you can go on to read this: Fox’s Howard Kurtz Vouches For Accuracy Of Flawed 1992 NYT Whitewater Story | Blog | Media Matters for America.

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