When the New York Times reported on July 23 that Hillary Clinton was the target of a new “criminal inquiry,” all other media took its word and jumped on the bandwagon. CNN. ABC. NBC. The Hill. CBS. Politico. And, of course, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
Less than one day later, however, the public learns that NYT’s story was crap, and of the “let’s sell newspapers *and* trash a campaign, too!” variety.
Here’s how it developed:
- Late Thursday, the New York Times released a story titled “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.”
- According to the article, two inspector generals asked the Dept. of Justice to launch this “criminal inquiry” because of “sensitive government information” they say Clinton included in personal emails.
- The body of the story contrasts with its title, however (and with what might be a “let’s cover our ass” editing afterthought): “It is not clear if any of the information in the emails was marked as classified by the State Department when Mrs. Clinton sent or received them.”
- In response to the article, House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the never-ending Benghazi Committee, issued statements demanding Clinton turn over her personal email server for further investigation.
- All other media fall for the claim hook, line, and sinker, and release their own versions of the story, citing New York Times as original source.
But here’s what really happened:
- After seeing New York Times’ story, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) began his own inquiry, contacting the senior Inspector General of the State Dept., Steve Linick.
- Linick told Cummings that there is no “criminal inquiry” and that no investigation was ever requested.
- The email review was part of an ongoing request of the Boehner-created and Republican-led Benghazi Committee (each claim of which has failed, finding no fault by any branch of the government, let alone former Sec. of State Clinton, regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consul), Linick said.
- According to Linick, the review found no violation in those emails. A couple contained information that was later classified, but that wasn’t classified at the time of those emails. As a result, no violation occurred.
After his quick confirmation of media crap, Cummings said on July 24:
This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines − only to be corrected later − and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas.
Since then, some of the media that fell for the unfounded angle of New York Times’ reporters Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo have issued correcting clarifications. Lot o’ good it does after the fact, though, right?
Featured image: New York Times logo (modified)