Earlier today, Joe Scarborough uncorked a much-needed rant about double standards in the media for scandal coverage. One Twitter follower of mine said he “stood and applauded” at the end of this 91-second speech. Mika Brzezinski had apparently just accused Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer of political motivations for writing his meticulously researched book and releasing it this spring, and her Morning Joe host erupted in frustration:
SCARBOROUGH: I gotta jump in here — I haven’t said anything, I’ve gotta jump in here. I don’t get this. I’ll be really honest. I’m looking around here, and I don’t get this. I’m certainly — I mean, if Peter’s been reckless, go ahead, say he’s been reckless. But I worked with guys in Congress that went golfing like one or two times in Ireland, and then six months later put a bill on the floor of the House, and they went to jail! And we’re sitting here going, ‘wait a second, wait — maybe he just got paid three times the amount! Maybe Belarus or telecom companies, or maybe this would make’ — come on! We’re not naive babes in the woods, and I know you’re playing this game, ‘oh, I’m gonna be tough, professional journalists’ —
BRZEZINSKI: No —
SCARBOROUGH: — and that’s really awesome, but Mika — Bob McDonnell. Let’s look at what Bob McDonnell did. What Bob McDonnell did pales in comparison to what’s in this book.
BRZEZINSKI: And what Bob McDonnell did —
SCARBOROUGH: And what Bob Menendez did pales in comparison to this book. The Clintons have made $150 million dollars over the past decade because of contacts they made during public service. I will now sit back and let you go ahead and ask those tough questions. I’m just curious, though. Why are the Clintons held to a standard that Bob McDonnell’s not held to, that Bob Menendez is not held to, that all of these Congressmen who get thrown into jail for going on, like, going to a Redskins game or going on a golf trip, compared to $150 million?
Joe’s not the only person in the media wondering about standards and practices. Ron Fournier castigated both the media and Team Hillary on the same grounds yesterday:
Hillary Clinton seized all emails pertaining to her job as Secretary of State and deleted an unknown number of messages from her private server. Her family charity accepted foreign and corporate donations from people doing business with the State Department – people who hoped to curry favor.
She violated government rules designed to protect against corruption and perceptions of corruption that erode the public’s trust in government. She has not apologized. She has not made amends: She withholds the email server and continues to accept foreign donations.
That’s what this is about.
Clinton’s crisis management team makes a big deal of the fact that “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer hasn’t proven a “quid pro quo.” Really? It takes a pretty desperate and cynical campaign to set the bar of acceptable behavior at anything short of bribery.
The Clinton team also points to errors made by news organizations investigating the email and foundation scandals, particularly the work around Schweizer’s book. That is their right, but they’re nibbling around the edges: The core ingredients of the Clintons’ wrongdoing has not been misreported.
This is about the Clintons, abuses of power, and corruption. It’s not about Schweizer’s political leanings or whether he’s uncovered what they believe is a “smoking gun,” a standard that Joe notes has become quite flexible based on last names and party affiliations. The media’s sycophancy to the Clintons may end up being the most enduring scandal of all exposed this cycle.