More Signature Significance: The New York Times’ Deceit At Hillary’s Command

Hillary is not pleased. Get with the program, NYT!

Hillary is not pleased. Get with the program, NYT!

From Dylan Byers at Politico:

The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive report about a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes.

The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.”

That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”

The Times also changed the headline of the story, from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton’s possible role. The article’s URL was also changed to reflect the new headline. As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.

One of the reporters of the story, Michael Schmidt, explained early Friday that the Clinton campaign had complained about the story to the Times.“It was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them,” Schmidt said…

This is, quite simply, the New York Times spinning for Hillary Clinton. The switch to the passive voice deceitfully implies that only the e-mail account, not the individual who created and used it, is being investigated for criminal misconduct. An account is inanimate: it can’t break the law. Only a human can do that. If the account is illegal or is used illegally, then the user, not the account, has broken the law. The original version of the story was fair and accurate, but because it properly called attention to Mrs. Clinton’s habitual dishonesty as well as her deceptive defense that her conduct in this matter was beyond reproach, the Clinton machine demanded that the supposed exemplar of American journalistic integrity further the campaign’s strategy of misdirection. The New York Times meekly complied, in the dead of night, like the lapdog it has become.

No normal subject of a Times story could do this. Richard Nixon wasn’t able to persuade the Times to phrase its stories and headlines so as not to place him under suspicion. That was, however, back in the days when the Times had integrity. Though it was certainly liberal in orientation, the paper didn’t see its role as a proactive agent for the advancement of the Democratic Party and the progressive agenda.

There is no innocent justification for this episode. It is signature significance. An objective newspaper with integrity and worthy of trust will always correct a factual error no matter who brings it to its attention, but no such newspaper will obey a request to make a news story more ambiguous and less specific in order to mollify a powerful public figure.

This is no less than a tragedy. I read the Times print edition frequently: in every other respect, it is far superior to any other print news source. It has become corrupted by partisan bias, however, and apparently doesn’t even appreciate why this is a breach of its ethical duty to the public.

18 thoughts on “More Signature Significance: The New York Times’ Deceit At Hillary’s Command

  1. It’s what people have since come to expect from the New York Times. A dying national institution, the Times isn’t even going to its grave with dignity. Rather, it has sought to prolong its existence through a refutation of every principle it once claimed. And, thus, it will die unmourned.

  2. The New York Slimes hasn’t had integrity since the day Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said he’d rather see an American get shot in Viet Nam, it’s the other guy’s country. I might add this isn’t the first time they’ve changed something at the behest of a Democratic official, Jack pointed out at least one other time they changed something that otherwise made the administration look bad. I’m guessing Valerie Jarrett has the publisher, as well as a few other major media players, on speed dial.

    • I think you’re missing both the subtlety and the power of Jack’s comment. As Jack puts it, the NYTimes is “in every other respect…far superior to any other print news source.” I agree. For you to claim they’ve lacked integrity for decades just marks you as politicized.

      The fact that a slip of this kind happens at arguably the best print news source in the world is BIG news: we expect a lot more from the best in the field than we do from a bunch of partisan hacks. This kind of slip would never make news at the NY Post, perhaps not even at the WSJ.

      It’s precisely because of it’s journalist leadership that this, in fact, really IS a big deal. Jack’s not the only one to note it, though he was among the first, and he didn’t note it for political purposes alone (interestingly, the Times is getting flak from both left and right). He’s pointing out – rightly, in my mind – that the important issue here is truly one of journalistic integrity.

      The Times has a ton of integrity. It’s precisely because of that that when they do have an integrity slip, even one small by other papers’ standards, it is proportionately of far greater magnitude and significance. We expect a lot better from a leader, and are legitimately upset when they fail to live up to expectations.

      They are a great paper, and in this case they screwed up. Worse yet, they’re still not admitting it.

      • They haven’t been great since they became bin Laden’s intelligence report. And as for politicized, please name the last 5 GOP candidates they endorsed.

        • Again, you’re missing the bigger point by smashing watermelons with hammers.

          Endorsing on political lines doesn’t make for “politicized,” most papers are solidly one party or another. Making preposterous claims like “bin Laden’s intelligence report” is what I’d call politicized.

          But, to pander to your absurd over-the-top question: they endorsed Bloomberg in ’09 and ’05, and Giuliani in ’97. Roughly even count with their endorsements of Dems Mark Green in ’01 and deBlasio in ’13.

  3. One of two things is true: either the original story was accurate, and events transpired as you suggest (which was also my original thought), or the original story was inaccurate, and a correction should have been issued, because those two sentences don’t mean the same thing.

    The Times says there were no “factual errors” in the earlier version, accounting for the lack of a correction. But subsequent stories (e.g., from AP) suggest that the change may have been a walking back of an earlier overstatement. Either way, the Times looks bad.

    Do I think Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar? Yes. Do I think the Times wants her to be the next President? Yes, as evidenced by their attitude toward both her candidacy and those of her competition–not merely Republicans, but also Bernie Sanders, whom the Times has treated like a naive curiosity.

    Does this particular allegation support the former conclusion? Maybe. Does the Times‘s handing of the story support the latter conclusion? Probably, but not necessarily.

    • Changing the story without flagging the change, depending on others to catch it (or not) is especially suspicious. The question being asked is: could there be criminal misconduct in this matter that was not attributable to Hillary? I don’t see how.

    • Regarding this:http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/doj-no-hillary-clinton-criminal-inquiry

      1. The sole issue is the Times changing the story the way it did at Clinton’s request.

      2. The fact that somebody got to the Justice Department so it wouldn’t screw up a Democrat’s White House bid—don’t you think what this is?—and they suddenly said, “Oh, no! This was a boating accident!” shouldn’t be taken with anything but about a ton of salt. This is has been a despicably politicized DOJ, refusing to appoint special prosecutors where its conflicts were blatant in multiple scandals. It has no credibility with me, and shouldn’t have with anyone.

  4. “Though it was certainly liberal in orientation, the paper didn’t see its role as a proactive agent for the advancement of the Democratic Party and the progressive agenda.” Which it clearly does now.

    As Bart Simpson would say, “Exacatmundo.”

  5. Sorry, Jack, as much as I dislike Clinton, I disagree with your point. The first headline was ambiguous.

    How was Clinton’s “use” of e-mail criminal?

    Is it against the law for her to have e-mail? No.

    Did she illegally transmit State secrets via e-mail? No.

    So, what was wrong with her use? That’s right: it was the “account” she was using.

    The second headline makes that clearer. Yes, it does shift the focus away from Clinton. And, as you suggest, it has its own problems.

    A better headline would have reference her use of “private e-mail account.” That would have been much clearer from the start. Had they done that (and later changed it), your point would be stronger.

    -Jut

    • I’m not arguing that the first headline was superb. Like many headlines, even by the famously restrained Times, the headline writer may have strived to inspire reader curiosity: Clinton being investigated is more significant and interesting than an account being investigated. I don’t feel like listing the hundreds of thousands of examples where headlines push the accuracy envelope–let’s see—I am right this minute scanning the Times headlines for an arguably no exactly accurate headline…AH!…one of my favorites: Judge Orders Release of Immigrant Children Detained by U.S. Hmmmm..why would the mean US be detaining children of people legally entering this country to make new lives for themselves in the Land of Freedom. Let’s read the article…”undocumented…”…so it really ILLEGAL aliens whose children are being retained. 1. GOOD and 2. That’s not what the plain meaning of the headline says. If Donald Trump or Ted Cruz—or I— called to complain, do you think the Times would change a word? That’s the main issue as far as the post goes. Clinton whistled, and the paper heeled.

      But as to your other point: (FROM THE HILL)

      “This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community said.

      Who was responsible for transmitting them? The person who was responsible for setting up the server. Hillary Clinton

    • This is about as useless a comment as can be. Jack ought to edit out some comments on the basis of having zero content.

      An opinion? Fine; everyone’s got one. But in its better moments, of which there are many, this blog and the commenters on it strive to actually say something.

      And in fairness, Texagg, I’ve known you to say substantive and thoughtful things from time to time as well. This just isn’t one of them. IMHO you’re a lot more interesting when you move off the pure name-calling and try to actually say something.

      And by the way, you mean “its,” not “it’s,” in this particular case.

      • ^^^^Speaking of useless comments, enter charlesgreen with another typo sharpshoot.

        Thanks for using your time to correct minutiae which allows you to go off your typical path of either repeating what Paul Krugman tells you what to believe or repeating the latest Left wing talking points with little-to-no critical thought on your part.

        Your value in this reply here has bought a few more moments of semi-relevancy.

        You’re either a fool or very imaginative to think the Main Stream Media ISN’T just a de facto propaganda wing of the Left Wingers in this nation.

    • The “Auld Alliance” between the DNC and the MSM has been showing some cracks recently. It’s enough to remember that the liberal media in all aspects is steadily fading in readership while the other, untainted outlets have grown. Throwing their last dregs of credibility in the tank for Obama’s sake hasn’t resulted in the measures against conservative internet sources, talk radio and FNC/ONA/CNS on cable that they had hoped for. They’ve also seen Obama’s arrogance grow to such heights that he now treats them with open contempt, despite the usual litany of softball questions. Some of the news sources are becoming more restless and critical over this… but not to much. They’ve already sold their souls to the Devil. It’s too late to back out of the bargain. Even Daniel Webster couldn’t sway the Jury of the Damned now!

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