Dec 7, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last week, CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott—who according to her Twitter bio is also a self-appraised “truth seeker”—was suspended from the network for two weeks for editorializing on social media. The offending tweet was this: “House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish.” At first glance, this punishment appeared grossly unfair. Not because Labott isn’t obviously biased, but according to CNN she apparently violated network policy that demands reporters not appear “predictably partisan.” By that standard, it’s a mystery why Labott would be punished while scores of other CNN employees get off scot-free.
However, not long afterward, Labott went from being caught exhibiting garden variety liberalism to being utterly professionally embarrassed. Emails obtained by the website Gawker show multiple instances of Labott tweeting messages directly suggested by Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines, including criticism of Senator Rand Paul for speaking out against Clinton’s conduct following a Benghazi hearing, as well as regurgitating the former secretary of state’s dubious defenses of the State Department’s internal Benghazi investigation. Behind the scenes, Labott’s tone with Reines was as obsequious as you could imagine. “[Hillary] was great. well done. I hope you are going to have a big drink tonight,” she told Reines of Clinton’s performance at the Benghazi hearings. Reines responded to her by patting himself on the back for suggesting a “good tweet.”
And Labott isn’t the only journalist exposed by this latest batch of emails. In another email obtained by Gawker, Politico’s Mike Allen pitches Reines on an interview with Chelsea Clinton and, of his own volition, makes some pretty astonishing concessions:
No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance. This would be a relaxed conversation, and our innovative format (like a speedy Playbook Breakfast) always gets heavy social-media pickup. The interview would be “no-surprises”: I would work with you on topics, and would start with anything she wants to cover or make news on. Quicker than a network hit, and reaching an audience you care about with no risk.
Note that even with a promise of the most favorable terms imaginable, Chelsea Clinton turned down Allen’s interview request. Five weeks after he made the request to Reines, Allen coauthored a Politico column decrying the Obama administration’s predilection for the “super-safe, softball interview” and noting that “the kid glove interview of Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Steve Kroft of CBS’s 60 Minutes is simply the latest in a long line of these.”
And don’t expect reporters to show an ounce of shame over this episode, either. Politico’s Glenn Thrush went on—where else?—Twitter and waved off the notion that these emails would be a problem for his peers and colleagues: “People hate media and will assume the worst. Most of this stuff is just everyday tradecraft—same BS as any job.” We hate to break it to Thrush, but in any job, betraying the trust of others to sniff the throne of powerful people is actually considered unethical. If Beltway reporters still had any interest getting questions answered, they might pause to ask why “people hate media and will assume the worst” before using their reputation as an excuse to justify their behavior.
As for the rest of America, still tethered to basic standards of professionalism and decency, they’re right to be worried that our political media are irredeemably corrupt.
8:01 AM, Nov 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Barack Obama and John Kerry have yet to comment on the death of an American murdered last week by Palestinian terrorists. Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old from Sharon, Massachusetts, was spending a year in Israel when terrorists fatally attacked him last Thursday, not far from Jerusalem.
11:33 AM, Nov 18, 2015 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
In remarks a few days ago in Turkey, President Obama said this:
when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution -- that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
12:03 PM, Nov 6, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
President Obama announced today to much fanfare (and to much angst on the right) that he is killing the proposed KeystoneXL pipeline, which would transport Canadian tar sands oil through the United States. But as much as he would like to claim the mantle of environmentalism (this is the man who promised to slow the rise of the oceans, after all) the president is giving himself a little too much credit here. For President Obama is not killing Keystone; the economics of oil are.
Left it on desk.9:14 AM, Oct 31, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
On February 29, 2012, Hillary Clinton emailed an office manager in the office of the secretary at the State Department. The request was brief but urgent: "I forgot there is a white briefing book on my desk that needs to be stored overnight."
Oops. Fortunately for Clinton, Claire L. Coleman, the office manager, responded five minutes later to say that the sensitive briefing book had been put away.
"Just gave it to Nima and he put it in his safe," the office manager assured Clinton.
Nov 9, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 09 • By LEE SMITH
Last week, the Obama White House moved to ensure Hezbollah’s ability to point 100,000 missiles at Israel. That’s not how they would describe it, of course. But it was the Obama administration—as U.S. officials are quietly letting on—and not Russia that invited Iran to participate in talks in Vienna to resolve the Syrian civil war. By doing so, the White House legitimized the Islamic Republic as a “stakeholder” whose interests in Syria must be respected.
2:38 PM, Oct 22, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed an internet video for the Benghazi attacks in her conversations with family members of those killed despite having told a foreign leader two days earlier that the video played no role and having emailed daughter Chelsea that a terrorist group had carried out the attack.
3:31 PM, Oct 12, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a habit of trying to have it both ways on the Iran nuclear deal
Congress’s Benghazi investigation has been slandered. Oct 19, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 06 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
There was never any doubt that Democrats in Washington would launch an aggressive campaign to discredit the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The only question was when they’d do it.
That inevitable effort got under way last week, after House majority leader Kevin McCarthy boasted to Sean Hannity that the committee’s work had hurt Hillary Clinton’s public standing.
9:50 PM, Oct 7, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
A top Hillary Clinton aide from the State Department talked up the former secretary of state's support for the trade deal just yesterday in an interview with National Public Radio. The aide, who has been defending Clinton's policies publicly, is Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former director of policy planning at the State Department.
The Arkansas Republican is calling for a criminal investigation.2:54 PM, Oct 5, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton will place a hold on three ambassador nominations until the Obama administration agrees to investigate and discipline officials within the Secret Service over a leak of private personnel information about a sitting congressman.
Cotton plans to deliver a speech from the Senate floor Monday afternoon decrying the Secret Service and its director, Joe Clancy, after several officials accessed the information for Jason Chaffetz, the Republican congressman from Utah and chairman of the House oversight committee, which oversees the Secret Service.
Ali Khamenei’s dark obsession with Jews and IsraelSep 28, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 03 • By ALI ALFONEH and REUEL MARC GERECHT
Antisemitism has never been an easy subject for America’s foreign-policy establishment. Read through State Department telegrams and Central Intelligence Agency operational and intelligence cables on the Middle East and you will seldom find it discussed, even though Jew-hatred—not just anti-Zionism—has been a significant aspect, if not a core component, of modern Arab nationalism, Islamic fundamentalism, and what usually passes for critical thought among sophisticated Arab elites.
2:19 PM, Sep 16, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary Kerry passed up the opportunity this week to recognize one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah.