“Legally though, there is a big bar that you have to get over to prosecute anybody for these crimes, much less somebody who is running for president…I do understand that when somebody is running for president, there is a higher bar that you have to get over because we can’t have a system in which we are constantly charging people who are running for president of crimes.”
— National Journal journalist (and Ethics Alarms “Most Ethical Journalist” award winner) Ron Fournier, discussing recent revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s e-mail machinations with “Morning Joe” on MSNBC
Ron Fournier has proved himself to be an unbiased and fair journalist, particularly where Hillary Clinton is concerned. He is not one of her apologists or defenders, so this statement must be sincere, and must also represent a genuine and inexplicable ethics blind spot.
There needs to be a higher bar to charge Presidential candidates with a crime? Wrong, absolutely wrong, unbelievably wrong, dangerously wrong, and embarrassingly wrong! That bar for a Presidential candidate or a President has to be exactly the same as for an ordinary citizen, indeed for the most lowly citizen, or our democracy is a fraud.
Fournier’s rationale for this double standard is, to be technical, bananas. To say “we can’t have a system in which we are constantly charging people who are running for President of crimes” is senseless on multiple levels:
First, we should have a system where the candidates for President don’t break laws and aren’t subject to such charges, and an electorate that refuses to tolerate any hint of lawlessness from its leaders. Here’s a low bar: Presidents shouldn’t be criminals.
Second, Fournier is saying that because unscrupulous politicians sometimes try to bring bogus charges as political warfare—think about the rigged indictments against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and against Rick Perry in Texas—genuine, provable charges shouldn’t be brought when elected officials or candidates really have broken the law. What kind of cracked logic is that? Does Fornier really think that because some will unethically abuse law enforcement, we shouldn’t enforce the law at all on the very citizens we need to be most certain are trustworthy and law-abiding, the ones who we are preparing to hand great power?
Third, a charge arising out of an FBI investigation under a Democratic administration against the anointed Democratic front-runner is not going to be politically motivated, so even if Fournier had a valid point (which he doesn’t) it would not apply to Clinton and her email conspiracy.
Fourth, nothing is more corrosive to the public’s faith in democracy than the perception that the powerful don’t have to obey the same laws as those they govern.
It is profoundly disturbing that one of the very few respectable members of the media has been corrupted by the power-elite’s self-serving idea that a double standard should protect government law-breakers.
Source: Law and News
16 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Journalist Ron Fournier”
The question that comes to mind is this guy looking for a new job, say with the Clinton administration?
This is what happens when you engage your mouth before your brain has a chance to catch up. I hope he does not really believe that.
He said it twice!!!
I suspect Wayne is on to something. This article by Fournier does sound like the first salvo in a Clintonista orchestrated campaign to smear an indictment of HRC. They must have gotten to him. He’s from Arkansas. Maybe he’s been a sleeping double agent for them all along. This is so blatant, it really makes me (and Wayne) wonder. With good reason.
Except that Fournier is usually a Clinton beta noire
Absolutely. I think he’s finally succumbed. They’ve worn him out. Or promised him an exclusive book deal.
Comparing the success of Prussia under Frederick the Great, where corruption was rigorously prosecuted, and the simultaneous collapse of the Ottoman Empire, where corruption was endemic might be a valuable lesson for Mr. Fournier; and everyone else in the US.
Just imagine applying his standards to the sTrumpet as well!
It is arguable that the same standard of immunity from prosecution should apply to presidents as judges and prosecutors.
I don’t think it’s a good argument. mind you, but the reasoning behind it is identical.
because unscrupulous criminals sometimes try to bring bogus charges… genuine, provable charges shouldn’t be brought when elected judges and prosecutors or candidates really have broken the law. What kind of cracked logic is that?
I can see a case for limited immunity within very strict bounds. Only homeopathic amounts when it comes to domestic issues, but rather broader ones for the POTUS, SecDef and SecState when dealing with foreign ones. Even then, subject to Judiclal Oversight in camera.
It is arguable that impeachment proceedings fulfil the same function as prosecution – except that they have become even more politicised.
As for candidates – a different matter. I think it’s not as clear-cut as you say, Jack, though if anything there’s a case for holding such people to higher standards in some ways. This requires more thought than I can give to it right now.
Personally, I want someone smarter than I for President of the U.S., more insightful, more organized, more dignified, more analytical, more visionary, more optimistic, more of a leader, and probably other “mores” than I can think of at this time of the morning. Why wouldn’t I also want someone more ethical, more moral, more law-abiding? The idea of allowing there to be a lower standard, and therefore a higher bar for prosecution, is nonsensical. But this is the path we have carved out, having realized that our politicians have feet of clay. We have become so accustomed to corruption in politics that we have “settled” for less, and this has become the standard. The danger of false prosecution of our leaders should not be a deterrent. Whatever happened to the idea that a leader should be squeaky clean, or at least to have owned up to and paid for past transgressions? As the people in the town (fictional?) of Flagstaff, Maine said: “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power/hope in the present.” We have lost our faith in a future of ethical/moral leaders, and therefore we have given up hope for them now in this time or ethical/moral chaos.
I don’t need someone smarter than me (I tend to think such people are like unicorns), but I do need them to be competent. Hillary’s excuses for this can all be boiled down to “I’m too stupid to figure out how them newfangled Emails work.”, I mean… I don’t believe her (Listen and Believe, infidel!), but even if I did…. Is that really the best case scenario? We have someone running for high office that can’t figure out Email? “Like with a rag?” Should be more damning than “What difference does it make?”
Then there’s this:
I really think what we’re seeing her is the launch of a coordinated “honesty” offensive by the Clinton campaign disguised as random, self-generated opinion pieces. These are not just two editorials that just so happened to appear at the same time.
The left and the journalism sector have never forgiven the right for Bill’s impeachment. That said, I think Ron is, in some ways, just reporting the truth, there ARE different standards for different people de facto if not de jure when it comes to the law.
Average people get tickets and have to pay the fine, the rich or the connected have someone talk to someone and the tickets get dismissed (believe me, I know, I’ve twice been pulled over for speeding, flashed my own credentials, and been told have a nice day). Average people get in a fight and do a year or three, the rich or the connected again, a conversation and they get probation and expungement after a while. Conservatives look for some action and they get forced to resign, but liberals get plenty and the world gets told move along, nothing to see here.
Hilary’s everything, rich, connected, liberal, the face of 21st century America and its new progressive ways. Trump says he could shoot someone in the street and keep on getting votes, and he’s probably right. How much less then, are charges for a non-violent high-tech crime going to stick to Hilary?
I was this close to quitting the Republican Party over this whole mess, but decided not to, since there is really no place to go if I do. I will pull the lever for Cruz or possibly Kasich come June 7. However, I have decided that if it comes down to Trump v. Hillary November 8, I will still vote down ticket, but not for President. I can’t in good conscience vote for either.
But he said there SHOULD be a double standard, and that’s NOT the truth.
Nope, but I have found that “should” ranks right up there with “fair” as a word that’s useful for communicating ideals, but nothing practical.
So THAT’s the Clintons’ definition of “equality under the law.”
All righty, then: Let’s all run for President! Somebody, notify Bernie Madoff.
Read between the lines, these are the new DNC talking points. Either he is relaying them as a mouthpiece, or he is relaying them to inform watchers that these are what Clinton people will now be claiming. Either way, this is bad for Clinton. You don’t make your public defense ‘The legal bar is higher for me’ unless you crossed the legal bar.