Media pollster bias? Hillary e-mails reveal "Congratulations!!!" from NBC/WSJ pollster

Is this really as bad as it looks? The Free Beacon’s Bill McMorris finds a hidden nugget in the latest release from Hillary Clinton’s e-mail — a personal “congratulations!” from the pollster behind the NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys. Peter Hart of Hart Research made sure that the outgoing Secretary of State got an early look at numbers that showed her outpolling her predecessors:


Peter Hart, founder of Hart Research, sent an email to a Clinton staffer as she prepared to end her term as secretary of state. He advertised the email as “Sensational Clinton Numbers coming tonight on NBC/WSJ survey.” The email highlighted her favorability ratings after overseeing foreign policy during President Obama’s first term.

“We will be releasing a special early set of numbers on the performance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her approval rating is 69% and disapproval is 25%,” Hart said. “Comparing to all the other Secretaries where there are numbers on approval—she ranks higher than Henry Kissinger, John Foster Dulles, and George C. Marshall. Only Colin Powell had a higher score. Congratulations!!!” …

A State Department staffer relayed to Hart that he had shown Clinton the emails joking that “she needs to hit her head more often!” Hart made no secret of his admiration for Clinton in his reply, noting that the agency would have to overcome significant obstacles with her successor.

“The True answer: Four years and 1 million miles = a grateful nation,” he said in reference to Clinton’s foreign policy accomplishment of frequently boarding aircraft. “For your knowledge—until Kerry gets your help–he arrives with (31% positive and 27% negative).”

For my money, I think it takes four or more exclamation points on a “Congratulations” before one can assume in-the-tank status, but your mileage may vary. The bigger issue for Hart here might be his utter lack of comprehension about the nature of Hillary Clinton. She scored well on polling while at State because she wasn’t running for office, and because she benefited from Barack Obama’s personal popularity. Kerry didn’t need Hillary’s help, and it’s probably safe to say he wouldn’t swap polling numbers with her now, either. I doubt Hillary’s getting too many “Congratulations!!!” notes from pollsters these days, even from those inclined to send them.


If Hart merely wanted to tip off Hillary’s office about her latest polling numbers, that doesn’t seem to be an egregious violation of objectivity or professionalism. He’s probably not be the first media pollster to give a politician or candidate advance notice on new numbers, and he probably won’t be the last. But the obsequious tone captured in this message, along with what our colleagues at Twitchy would call the squee over flying a million miles as a measure of achievement for a Secretary of State, certainly raises lots of questions about Hart’s independence, and his judgment as well.

But he’s hardly the only member of the media whose objectivity might be questioned over Hillary’s e-mail scandal. In my column today at The Fiscal Times, I point out a much more pernicious trend in the media when it comes to Hillary e-mails:

This week, though, the media appeared curiously incurious about the latest tranche of e-mails from the Clinton server. In the largest release yet, State unveiled 7,800 pages of e-mails, of which 328 e-mails were redacted for containing classified information. ABC News dutifully reported on that addition to the refutation of Clinton’s claims, and noted that the number of e-mails that contained classified information has reached 999 in total – with about a third of the communications left unpublished for now.

Oddly, though, the media outlet that broke the story didn’t seem interested in pursuing that aspect of it. The New York Times report on the latest tranche didn’t bother to mention that any e-mails had been classified. Its lead on the release instead noted that one e-mail which had been previously considered classified had been declassified for this release…which presumably kept Clinton from hitting 1,000 refutations to her claims.

The rest of the media didn’t take much more of an interest in the implications of this development, either. Most of the focus fell on Philippe Reines’ effort to get advice from the NFL for Clinton’s “cracked head,” as she self-effacingly described her concussion and its aftermath. Others found it amusing that Clinton was a fan of the TV series Homeland but didn’t recall which channel to watch for it. Very few news outlets found it newsworthy that the number of classified messages had jumped nearly 50 percent with this release, and none pondered what that meant to Hillary Clinton’s credibility.

This lack of interest seems to be of a piece with the narrative that emerged in late October, after the Democrats’ first presidential debate and Clinton’s testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. They rushed to declare that time frame “the best ten days of the Clinton campaign,” even though as Marco Rubio pointed out in a subsequent debate , the testimony actually demonstrated that Clinton lied about Benghazi. …

Still, ever since then the narrative has had Clinton recovering her bearings and moving past the e-mail scandal even as the FBI probe continues and more classified information is redacted. The collective yawn from the media after this week’s release gives us an indication of the level of media interest we can expect, as Hillary Clinton gets closer to the nomination. They want to keep that narrative going rather than look at the thousand ways Clinton lied about her e-mail system and risked national security in order to thwart legitimate oversight into the State Department’s performance.


If a Republican wins the general election, do you think that he’ll get heads-up e-mails from media pollsters that offer “congratulations!!!” and convey the delight of “a grateful nation”? Doubtful.

Addendum: My earlier absence prompted a few people to wonder if all was well. Thanks for the queries; I’m actually participating in the Bullets & Bourbon resort weekend in Texas, and today was almost completely taken up in travel. I’ve already bumped into PJ Media’s Ed Driscoll, and I can’t wait to meet up with my friends Dana and Chris Loesch! I will be posting more regularly tomorrow, though.

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