Media damns Hillary Clinton if she does, damns her if she doesn’t

Which is it, Politico? Two headlines, just hours apart, give rather different pictures of Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy. According to “Hillary Clinton’s run-out-the-clock strategy,” Clinton doesn’t plan much of a response to the media’s efforts to turn Republican attacks on her email or the Clinton Foundation into real news. According to “Clinton mounts full-court press against media,” the campaign is aggressively responding to the latest Clinton Foundation attack.

Give the BS edge to the first story, which is replete with quotes from unnamed “allies” and “insiders” and “confidants” and “sources close to the campaign.” By contrast, the story about the campaign’s response to a remarkably bad AP story has quotes from people actually in the campaign, so, you know, there’s that. But it’s fascinating to see the response to one AP story turn into a “full-court press against media.”

The Clinton campaign points out that the story, which claims

more than half the people Clinton met with in her early years as secretary of state were donors to the Clinton Foundation, “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary Clinton’s schedule.” Specifically:

“The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as Secretary. And it omits more than 1700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other U.S government officials, while serving as Secretary of State.

Funny how if you omit most of the meetings someone had, you can make what’s left suit your purposes. And the purposes of a vast chunk of the political press involve taking shots at Hillary Clinton. Because they need to show that they’re not being unfair to Donald Trump. Because Clinton treats them with (well-earned) suspicion. Because after 25 years, falling for scandals manufactured to hurt the Clintons is embedded deep in the media’s DNA. Because Politico needs juicy headlines about how Clinton is either running out the clock or mounting a full-court press about the media, with no room in between.

We’ve watched, time and time again, how these things turn out. The right creates infinite smoke but somehow there’s never a fire blazing at the center of it, no matter how frantically the media looks for one and reports as if the smoke is coming from an entire city block consumed by flames.

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