Yesterday in Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton took questions at a meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She was asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker to explain her jaw-dropping lie on Fox News Sunday a week ago, when she claimed that FBI Director James B. Comey had said all of her statements had been “truthful,” when anyone who heard Comey’s public statement or Congressional testimony could see that he actually stated that her public statements—for more than a year—were not true. Incredibly, Clinton had no coherent or credible answer for this, though she had to know—didn’t she?—that the question would be asked.
“I may have short-circuited it, and for that I will try to clarify.”
On “The Honeymooners,” Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) used to stutter out, when confronted with his own whopper or otherwise trapped, “Huminahuminahumina…” “Short-circuited” is as meaningful as that. It’s gibberish, but just as obviously means “you caught me lying through my teeth, and I don’t have a good explanation.” Ralph, however, was a humble, none-too-bright bus driver, and not running for President, so the standards in his case can be relaxed a bit.
(Please also note Clinton’s equivocal “might.” )
Ralph always followed “huminahuminahumina…” with facial expressions and body language showing silent humiliation, and then an abject apology. Hillary, being Hillary, just started lying again. The AP fact-checked her response, and determined that she had trotted out the same shifting, mendacious assertions we have heard so many time before. Concluded the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza,
Er, what? What Clinton appears to be saying is that Comey said that everything she said to the FBI was truthful (he did) and since she said publicly exactly what she said to the FBI, therefore everything she said was truthful.
Oh, so that’s what “short-circuited” means!
Except that Comey had very clearly said that her public statements were false.
“The problem for Clinton is that her explanation relies entirely on the willingness of the public to trust her on the assertion that she told the FBI exactly what she said publicly. First off, that’s almost impossible to know. Second, we have some evidence that contradicts Clinton’s claim. Most notably, the idea — which she reiterated Friday — that she never sent anything marked classified from her email account. Comey has testified before Congress that she did…This is by now a very familiar pattern with Clinton when it comes to her email server. She simply refuses to acknowledge any misstep or wrongdoing beyond an initial poor decision to exclusively use a private email server for “convenience” sake. She continues to provide legalistic answers that touch the truth but aren’t entirely the truth….”
It would be nice if journalists didn’t continue to use code to describe “lying.” “Legalistic answers that touch the truth but aren’t entirely the truth” are known in the legal profession as deceit, which is a form of lie. Deceit is Bill Clinton’s specialty: “I did not have sex with that woman” is deceit, as is “I was not alone with her, “ and many other deft examples from Bill’s illustrious career. If you are using “is” to mean one thing, but you know the listener will think “is” means something else, you are lying. Come on, say it, Chris. Journalists are ethically obligated to avoid hiding the truth.
He’s not alone in this, of course. Ann Althouse caught the New York Times doing the same thing in this section of an editorial yesterday:
[Trump] is speaking to people who disbelieve conventional politicians, who detest a Washington they think has betrayed them. He promises nothing of substance to ease their pain, but he gives voice to their rage. So where does this leave Mrs. Clinton? It does not give her the luxury of sitting back and hoping Mr. Trump will implode, but it does present opportunities …Instead, she played into that distrust this week by repeatedly asserting untruthful claims about her careless handling of government emails.
Althouse asterisked “asserting untruthful claims” as “AKA lying.”
“…they just said she has an opportunity “to present herself… as a morally serious leader.” It’s like “asserting untruthful claims” — you lie. She can lie. She keeps lying. So this is the suggested lie: Instead of lying about what Comey said about you and the email, act like you’re morally serious.”
The tightrope that the mainstream news media is walking regarding Hillary is something to behold. They have to sort-of report her unethical machinations, but also try to minimize the public’s appreciation of how serious they are at the same time.
Back to Cillizza:
“Her ongoing poor handling of the email issue may not matter because she is running against someone in Donald Trump who has proven uniquely unable to keep the spotlight off of him. But it suggests that if Trump could ever get his act together, Clinton still carries considerable vulnerabilities as a candidate.”
Not character deficiencies that make her almost as unfit to be President as Donald Trump, now. “Considerable vulnerabilities as a candidate.”
[ Ethics Alarms Note: I’m guessing, based on the debates over the “Snap out of it” post, many may feel that it is hypocritical for EA to continue to focus on Clinton’s corruption, dishonesty and lack of trustworthiness, since I am on record arguing that responsible citizens must accept that voting for her is the only way to ensure that Trump, who is in a whole different dimension of unfit, never gets his hands on the Presidency.
Wrong. I am not giving Clinton a pass, though the news media will, and it is vital that the public know, and continue to learn, just how unfit she is. Maybe, through some miracle that I cannot foresee, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein—or any one of the many millions of eligible Americans who are unquestionable more fit to lead than either Hillary or the Donald—suddenly become viable candidates, which they are not now. In that remoter than remote eventuality, it will be crucial that Clinton’s disqualifying deficits have been as thoroughly documented as Trump’s. I don’t support Hillary Clinton, and nothing she does at this point could convince me to trust her. She’s just not as bad as Trump, and those are the choices the disgraced American two-party system has given us.]