Friday, October 21, 2016

Clinton's coordination with journalists is normal and good, which is why they hide it

Wikileaks has published correspondence documenting the Clinton campaign's efforts to disseminate "Bernie hits" using "people who can help push this behind the scenes without our fingerprints." Among other things, this involved "working with bloggers and columnists to write about this from a [specific] perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call [specifically] to talk about the 'Bernie Backlash'".

Note the interpolations. I added them to highlight a point that one can miss without a close reading: the Clinton campaign is only "working with blogger and columnists to write" specific things from specific perspectives. This is not, that is to say, journalists coming up with their own takes and then pursuing them in an interview - it's textbook scoop laundering.

The emerging defense here seems to be that scoop laundering is actually normal and good. Suffice to say that this isn't the position Olivia Nuzzi took when she was "pitched a story about bernie bros by Hillary's camp". This isn't the position the Burlington Free Press took earlier this year when the Clinton campaign tried to pitch stories that "hit Bernie on guns". By the way, here's what it looks like when the campaign scoop launders stories to hit Bernie on guns:
Here's the draft, which I edited and can personalize depending on who we want to use as an author. A survivor of gun violence? An advocate or family member? If we can find someone, and if folks want, we could get this posted today to Medium in someone's name (not us).
Which is exactly what they did - here's the virtually identical article. I have no doubt that if you asked Lasher about this, she would insist that there was nothing wrong with what she did, that the essay drafted by the Clinton campaign just-so-happened to correspond with what she would have said independently, that no, she wasn't paid to do this, and that all of this is perfectly normal and good. Still, one can't help but wonder why the Clinton campaign insisted on doing such normal and good things "behind the scenes without our fingerprints."