White House shames American journalists for Clinton loss

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White House shames American journalists for Clinton loss
This week the White House Press Secretary described any US media that reported on Wikileaks release of the Democratic Party’s and John Podesta’s emails as acting as “de facto instruments of Russian intelligence.”

As if it were needed, this was fresh evidence that there is now only one post-election narrative to explain away the former Secretary of State’s defeat – the Email Scandal – and only one party fundamentally responsible – Moscow.

Then the US President told the National Public Radio how Washington was planning to retaliate for “Russian cyber attacks” which he believes “impact(ed) the integrity of our elections.” That’s because anonymous CIA officials think Russia hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which damaged Clinton.

Obama finally wrapped up his pre-holiday media blitz by once again scolding the domestic press for reporting on what he deemed to be “political gossip” like when in the ostensibly open Democratic primary the supposedly neutral DNC sought ways to help one candidate over another.

Talking Heads

While the CIA officials were quietly planting information in the media, they were less inclined to show up and address elected representatives on the subject.

On Friday, Senator Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed how the CIA refused to provide his grouping with a briefing on the matter. "It is disappointing that the CIA would provide information on this issue to the Washington Post and NBC but will not provide information to elected members of Congress," he said.

For its part the Kremlin has aggressively denied the allegations, with a spokesperson saying on Friday: “they need to either stop talking about this or finally present some sort of proof. Otherwise it looks… scurrilous.”

Meanwhile, Wikileaks editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, told Fox News how Moscow is not to blame, responding “that's correct” when asked by journalist Sean Hannity, “Russia did not give you the Podesta documents or anything from the DNC?”

Indeed, Assange added for emphasis: “Our source is not the Russian government.” 

Truth about Emails

Amidst all the spin, the “fake news” hand-wringing and headlines about Russia, there are some underlying truths that nobody is arguing. The first one is that Hillary Clinton exposed her own emails by not using secure official servers while engaged as Secretary of State. The FBI investigation into this breach of protocol was prompted by a meme-generating photo from back in 2011 and subsequent inquiry by “a record keeping official in [Clinton’s] office.”

No hacking, no leaks. This is the origin story of the Clinton Email Scandal™.

The second is that of all the Clinton email-related stories to make news during the general election, by far the biggest one was the announcement by the FBI director James Comey that the Bureau was looking into more Clinton emails. Those emails were discovered as a result of an entirely separate FBI investigation of Anthony Weiner, former New York Congressman married to a top Clinton aide and disgraced by a sexting scandal. Again – no hacking, no leaks.

To recap: the Clinton campaign was book-ended by two major email scandals stemming entirely from Clinton herself, her closest circle, American security services and no outside actors of any stripe.

And the American mainstream media are being borderline accused of treason for largely skimming over the Podesta revelations while producing hundreds of articles per day about the awfulness of Donald Trump.

Back to the Future

One can’t help but notice the 2020 Democratic campaign already shaping up under the banner of “Russians stole 2016 for Trump.” We can call it right now: this spells nothing but doom for the Democrats.

Forget the veracity of the heretofore- unsubstantiated accusations. To put it bluntly, Americans don’t turn out at the polls to vote against Russia. Or for Russia, for that matter.
They do turn out to vote based on the realities of their circumstance as well as their just-as-real anxieties. And for liberals and conservatives alike these anxieties are rooted in issues close to home.

Terrorism and immigration, healthcare and civil liberties, economic opportunity and job security. Not Putin jumping out of their cupboards.
But Hillary Clinton ran against this Russian boogeyman at least as much as she did against Trump. And just as the Dems and the disappointed media began to conduct the 2016 postmortems and explore everything that the campaign might have done wrong and could do better next time, the CIA and the White House stole the show and switched the conversation to all Russia, all the time.

Broken Walls

Does the Democratic establishment really believe that Clinton lost “the Blue Wall”, the “American Rust Belt” that showed up for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and could have given her the Electoral College victory in 2016, because several thousand people there were appalled by “John Podesta’s risotto recipe” (that’s a master class from Obama on trivializing policy revelations, by the way)? Or could it be because Hillary and her Brooklyn HQ ignored field intelligence and took the region for granted while Donald Trump visited often and flooded it with TV advertisements?

Here’s how Democratic Party pollster Paul Maslin summed up the situation when pressed by USA Today: “It’s is nothing short of malpractice that her campaign didn’t look at the Electoral College and put substantial resources in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.”  Apparently, Clinton was “the first major-party nominee since 1972 to shun campaigning in [Wisconsin]” entirely during the general election.

Even before polling day, The Atlantic was warning that Trump was outflanking his opponent when it came to securing electoral votes. “The campaign has devoted very little advertising or time from Clinton and her top surrogates in several of the states that are part of her core strategy for reaching 270 Electoral College votes—among them Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, and New Mexico,” it wrote.

Michigan and Wisconsin swung from Obama in 2012 to Trump on November 8, and together with neighboring Iowa and Ohio that likewise flipped from blue to red, gave the presidency to the Republican nominee.

There is a multitude of factors that might have contributed to the Democrat’s loss: from the lack of campaigning in key areas to misreading of the electorate’s priorities, to overall messaging, to faulty polling data, to the FBI investigation of all those emails. But it should be obvious to even the most casual observer of American politics that Clinton’s electoral defeat was a homegrown phenomenon. In equating American journalists with foreign agents and chastising them for imagined partisan transgressions, the White House is damaging not only the cause of the free press, but of its own party.