If you believed the lies about the FBI investigation, re: Hillary Clinton E-mails

If you believed the lies about the FBI investigation, re: Hillary Clinton E-mails

– you owe it to yourself to find better sources.

by Ollie Garkey  Daily Kos

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

First, I want to say to everyone who actually believed there was something to the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal: I’m sorry that you were lied to. I don’t want this post to be a victory lap or an “I told you so” post, because the issue we’re dealing with is serious, and deserves serious thought.

What this whole story reveals is that we have a problem with churnalism. The reporters, writers, and journalists who bring us news are so understaffed that they don’t actually have time to fact check their own reporting. What most reporters do right now is just re-word whatever press release they’ve been handed.

If you were someone who believed the oft-repeated lies told about the facts in this case, I’m sorry. But recognize that we don’t have effective news companies anymore, even in the new media space. In new media, people are often just re-wording what someone else previously re-worded. There’s no actual reporting.  

And as citizen journalists, the lot of you are actually capable of picking up a phone and calling someone who’s the subject of a story, or an expert. Just tell them you’re a blogger, and e-mail them the resulting post. I’ve done that. I think the rest of you should consider doing it, too.

I wrote months ago that the only possible charges to bring against Clinton would be civil, and internal to the state department, requiring a sit down meeting with the president whose job it would have been to decide whether any sanction was necessary.

Based on what we knew, I argued that there would be no basis for any charges. To prove that point, I quoted the Supreme Court decision Gorin Vs. United States:

“The obvious delimiting words in the statute are those requiring intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation. This requires those prosecuted to have acted in bad faith.”

I pointed out that actual lawyers said there would be no basis for prosecution, and linked to a post by Dan Abrams. Others have pointed out that the State Department is notoriously leaky as an institution, and that this problem pre-dates Clinton. To quote the FBI today:

“[W]hile not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to the use of unclassified systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information that is found elsewhere in the U.S.A. government.”

Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server ran afoul of an executive order created by Barack Obama, not Federal law. This is something that I and others pointed out months ago. And here is what the FBI said today:

“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who gauged this activity would gauge no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions, but that is not what we are deciding now.”

This means, as I pointed out, that there would have been a sit down chat with the president for someone at cabinet level. Based on all of the evidence, there was no reason to believe that Clinton would be indicted. I said so months ago. And what did the FBI say today?

“In looking back at our investigations, into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”

I was right, because I found expert opinions to inform my own opinion. There are plenty of people who are likely smarter than I am who fell for this nonsense because of bad information. The same law of programming that informs coders applies to our own decision making process: Garbage in, garbage out. If you’re consuming terrible journalism, you will come to factually incorrect conclusions.

On legal issues, I generally recommend LawNewz.com, and Dan Abrams in particular. I linked to his article in my own, and his analysis informed my opinion on this topic.

Again, if you were lied to, and you believed those lies, I think you owe it to yourself to go and find sources that won’t lie to you. Not for anyone else’s sake but your own.

All I ask now is that we recognize that the majority of the “News” we are exposed to — including a lot of the new media and social media stuff we’re exposed to — is created by professional bullshit peddlers who are lying to us. Let’s name and shame them, and remember not to fall for it again.  


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  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/08/2016 at 1:08 am

    Hillary R Clinton Is Getting Gore’d By An Incompetent Media.
    by pollwatcher

    Remember how in 2000, Bush was the one that everyone wanted to have a beer with, and Al Gore was stiff and untrustworthy?

    While the consequences of Bush’s radical tax cuts for the rich were ignored, somehow Al Gore wanting to protect Social Security by putting it in a metaphorical “lockbox” was the butt of many jokes in the media.

    Bush could do no wrong by the media, no matter how many times he couldn’t put enough words together to form a complete sentence describing his proposals, and Al Gore was the stiff intellectual because he actually described his proposals in detail.

    Well, the same thing is now happening to Clinton. After months and months of the media playing along with the right-wing propaganda machine and having lengthy debates with right wingers about if and when Clinton will be indicted, FBI Director Comey said no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton. But what are the headlines in most of the major news outlets?

    Clinton was “Extremely Careless”!

    Instead of talking about how absolutely wrong and dishonest the right-wing has been, the media is going along once again with right-wing talking points that Clinton lied about sending or receiving marked classified emails.

    Comey was very ambiguous as to whether Clinton participated in any of the email “chains” after the emails were marked classified. Here’s what he said:

    “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.

    Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information.”

    So does he mean a very small number out of the 110 or out of the 30,000 emails? This could be 1 or 2 out of the 30,000. And how far did these email “chains” extend? Did someone in these “chains” mark these as classified after Secretary Clinton saw the email?

    I actually heard some reporters on MSNBC claim Clinton lied about handling classified emails when she said she did not handle marked classified emails, even though the director never said Clinton handled the “very few” emails while they were marked classified.

    So Clinton was going to be persecuted by the media no matter what the FBI director said.

    Just as the media turned on Al Gore and made him out to be boring and stiff and too intellectual, they have now turned on Clinton and will emphasize how untrustworthy she is.

    They may not treat Trump as the guy you would want to have a beer with, but they have set their course for the campaign to make sure Clinton gets Gore’d.

    The main stream media deserves as much of the blame for our declining democracy as the right wing propaganda machine.

    The media owes Clinton a public apology for every time they interviewed a right -winger about how Clinton would be indicted.

    The media decides what we think about and talk about every day. The media decided that in order to sell their stories, the stories must be couched in controversy. Bad news sells. If you believe the Office of President of the USA is a job for a white man …. then, reading into the motivation of the right-wing media to portray Hillary as the wrong gender in “code speak” – or in “dog whistle” verbs is not too difficult to decipher.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/08/2016 at 6:36 pm

    Does anybody remember the Millions of Missing Emails Just Before President Obama was elected in 2008???

    George W. Bush Missing Emails 2007

    By Lauren Stephenson


    With all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, there’s been little mention of a similar email scandal under former President George W. Bush that didn’t get a lot of media coverage.

    In 2007, the Bush White House admitted to losing millions of emails.

    The revelation came when Congress was looking into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Investigators found that several White House officials, including top adviser Karl Rove, had been using private email accounts set up on a Republican National Committee server for White House business. Those emails were not properly archived.

    Rove’s personal attorney told CNN at the time that Rove thought his email was being archived.

    The press secretary at the time, Dana Perino, appeared on Fox News last year and said the Bush and Clinton email incidents were very different. She argued Clinton, by law, was expected to use government email. She said some White House officials were trying to abide by another law that prohibited political officials from using government email.

    [The missing email incidents were NOT the same – agreed – because the previous Republican-Tea Party government was under investigation for firing so many US attorneys when the investigators discovered the millions of missing emails.]

    “So you had the young people that were working in the political office trying to comply with one law but being accused of not complying with another,” Perino said.

    In 2009, it was reported 22 million missing Bush White House emails had been recovered.

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