The media has bent over backward to create a “there” over the Republican efforts to create a scandal out of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The media has been obsessed with Clinton’s emails, even as Donald Trump admitted to sexually assaulting women and many women came forward to say that they had been assaulted by Trump.
All of the breathless ado about nothing painted a false picture in voters’ minds that Hillary Clinton is not trustworthy or honest, when in fact she was rated by PolitiFact as the most honest politician in the race in March, closely followed by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders and Republican Governor John Kasich.
The current chart via PolitiFact:
Politico’s Glenn Thrush mused Wednesday morning, “PolitiFact rated 72% of Trump’s statements false — 74% of Clinton’s true. Polls show voters giving him much higher trust/honesty numbers.”
.@PolitiFact rated 72% of Trump's statements false — 74% of Clinton's true. Polls show voters giving him much higher trust/honesty numbers.
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) November 2, 2016
I’ve written about the dark money behind the Clinton character attacks before and how people think they’re being cool by saying both candidates are horrible choices, but in fact what they are doing is repeating talking points paid for by the Koch Brothers et al, and that’s the opposite of cool – that’s being an easy mark.
Dark money has been effective against the first woman candidate for president on a major party ticket.
No one is arguing that Hillary Clinton is perfect, but the fact is that the public doesn’t have an accurate perception of her honesty rate or her trustworthiness.
The point of the endless Republican investigations was to damage Clinton, who has polled the most admired woman in the world for some 20 years now. It worked and the media is what made it work.
Instead of reporting the source of the non-scandals, the media gobbled up the easy hits like they were running a reality TV show instead of being responsible for upholding democracy and transparency in government.
Republicans are the party of big corporate money and that money wants the deregulation policies that it gets from Republicans. Media companies are included in that big corporate money. This isn’t to suggest their coverage is altered because of that need, but that they have both an investment in looking the other way when a story has potential to be dramatic and a policy payoff for looking the other way.
It would be ridiculous to pretend this wasn’t a problem and didn’t influence the news voters read. It was happening in news rooms decades ago from advertiser dollars and now it’s happening even more with news no longer a loss leader and Citizens United fueling disinformation.
As voters head to the polls, they are taking with them the false notion that Hillary Clinton is less trustworthy and honest than Donald Trump. In reality, Donald Trump has struggled to recover from his 9% mostly true rate in March, and he’s still prone to gross inaccuracies and sometimes just makes things up out of nothing and refuses to even be held to a any standard for truth.
Donald Trump pulled this con off with great assistance from our negligent media. When both sides are given without context or fact-checking, it is an assist to liars. When the media pretends Hillary Clinton did something horrible with her emails when in fact almost every Republican running in the primary who held office before had done the same or worse, they are misinforming voters.
Hillary Clinton is the most honest and trustworthy candidate in this race by a long shot. And that is not an opinion, it’s a fact based on her record.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.