There are two main narratives about the 2016 election. The first is that Hillary was brought down by a combination of Russian interference coupled with journalistic malpractice. This malpractice took the form of normalizing Trump's extreme behavior while abnormalizing Hillary's every breath. The second narrative is that Hillary just ran an awful campaign and she's the only one to blame for her loss.
You'll be stunned to find out that the journalists that endlessly obsessed over Hillary's emails and foundation are really, really wedded to that second narrative. So much so that Chris Cillizza, one of the leading Inquisitors of the 21st century witch trial we just witnessed, has glommed onto a book titled, "See? I Told You It Was Her Fault! I'm Innocent! She's To Blame!" Actually, the title is "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign" but Cillizza is treating it as, ahem, unimpeachable justification for the rabid hatred so many in the "liberal" media displayed over the course of the election.
Here's a good example of how Cillizza has been recently dodging his responsibility. Peter Daou kicks it off by pointing out the obvious: The press played a huge role in discrediting Hillary and they've refused to admit it.
The New York Times' Glenn Thrush would rather we focus on Hillary because that's a much easier narrative to swallow.
And then Cillizza jumps in with sneering sarcasm that simply screams denial.
Funny, I thought her message was loud and clear. I guess since it couldn't fit on a bumper sticker, it didn't count? Still, it's cute that Cillizza continues to make the non-story of the email server out to be important after so thoroughly failing to find anything illegal or incriminating about it. Self-reflection is obviously not a strong point so, naturally, Cillizza was practically orgasmic when "Shattered" was released because it absolved him of all the blame:
Hillary Clinton's loss at the hands of Donald Trump last November is the single biggest upset in modern presidential politics. I've spent the intervening months trying to understand what Clinton's defeat said about the electorate, about Clinton and about the campaign she ran. Now, there's a book that does all of that for me! "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign" by Amie Parnes and Jon Allen came out today, offering a blow-by-blow account of exactly how Clinton lost a race everyone -- including her! -- thought was un-loseable. I reached out to Amie and Jon to talk to them about the book, what they learned about Clinton and who, really, deserves the blame for her loss.
Who, really, deserves the blame for her loss? Hint: Anyone but Chris Cillizza.
But here's a fun fact: The internet never forgets and some helpful people put together a collection of Cillizza's nonstop screeching about Hillary's emails and alleged corruption:
Thanks internet! The tally came in at about 50 different articles by Cillizza concerning the emails which turned out to be absolutely nothing. But, hey, it brought in a lot of views, right? And Cillizza was completely unashamed of his Clinton Derangement Syndrome, going so far as to defend the media hysteria generated by the seriously debunked and painfully transparent "Clinton Cash" hit job:
Agreeing to look into the claims in Schweizer's book is not, of course, the same as "reporting" those claims. Not to be too much of a teacher's pet, but WaPo National Editor Cameron Barr got it exactly right in his quote to Politico. "What interests us more are his facts and whether they can be the basis for further reporting by our own staff that would be compelling to our readers," he said.
But that's not what the Post or the Times did. They paid a lot of money for early access to the book hoping to find something to bring Hillary down. They didn't find anything except more bullshit but in the process they gave the book a massive amount of unearned credibility. And even as the claims in the book fell apart under mild scrutiny, both papers spent very little time acknowledging the obviously fabricated nature of it all. Media Matters also points out Cillizza continued defending the book well after it was exposed as junk. Because when Clinton Rules are in effect, journalistic ethics are suspended.
Fast forward to today and Shattered is even better for Cillizza and his ilk as it conveniently casts Russia's involvement in the election as a narrative put together by the Clinton campaign to explain her loss, a talking point endlessly repeated by the right and anti-Hillary "liberals":
That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
Whew! That absolves Cillizza and the press of essentially ignoring the story when it first surfaced over the summer. Sure, linking a presidential candidate to a hostile foreign power attacking our election would normally be the largest story of the decade but Hillary had an email server and the press had been waiting years to take down the Clintons. That Russia stuff could wait until after the election.
To his credit, Cillizza is finally taking the Trump-Russia story seriously but one can't help but wonder if we wouldn't now be living on the edge of WWIII if he and his fellow witch-hunters had dedicated even a fraction of their attention to Trump. "Better late than never" is supposed to be an indictment of poor judgement, not a rule of thumb for investigative journalism.
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