In that, Jim VandeHei is hardly alone. The co-founder of Politico will soon launch a new media start-up, and discussed the state of media with Hugh Hewitt this morning. Like many, VandeHei sees an increasing number of straight-news reporters publicly aligning with Hillary Clinton — or at least opposing Donald Trump — on social media and even in their reporting. VandeHei calls it “scary,” and wonders why the media hasn’t put in more effort to discuss the ramifications of classified-information handling with those most familiar with it:
HH: … And Jim, I want to read the beginning of an email I got from a former AUSA, assistant United States Attorney, who I’ve known for many, many years, absolutely legit guy, and have been tracking down bad guys for a long time. He’s married to an FBI agent. It reads, “Now that the contents of that first FBI summary have been released, my wife tells me that Comey has lost all credibility in the FBI. Remember he’s a DOJ veteran, not a Bureau veteran, and that makes a difference with the troops. My wife, a 25 year agent, tells me that since that document became public, and based on what’s in there Comey decided to not recommend prosecution, his name among the agents is dirt. The most practical reason for that feeling is that they all know stories about agents or other federal employees who have befallen similar circumstances, and some have been prosecuted while just about all others have been fired. And the issue with the missing Blackberrrys, IPad, AND the Apple Laptop and Thumbdrive that had ALL her archived emails on them, is just unbelievable to agents who work on matters involving classified information.” I, Jim Vandehei, have heard this complaint over and over again. I held all the clearances in the Reagan years. And I always said the short end was if I left anything in my desk, I’d be disciplined. If I took it home, I’d be fired. If I gave it to someone, I’d be prosecuted. Have you heard this refrain yourself?
JV: It’s interesting that you say that, and I think, yes, is the answer. And I think where the disconnect is, is are you in a military family? And do you know people in a military, or in your case, people who are in the Justice Department or the FBI? I have two brothers-in-law who are serving, and I was in a wedding this past weekend in Kerrville, Texas, where lots of Marines were there. And people who would be inclined, I think, several that I was talking to, to be inclined to support Hillary Clinton, and the only thing that they focus on, and the reason that they could never find themselves voting for her, is this very reason. They either themselves or know other people who have been sanctioned or had issues for doing far, far less than what they believe Hillary Clinton did with classified material. And I think if you’re not talking to people in the military, if you don’t have family members in the military, you don’t have deep enough appreciation for how much focus they put on this, and how much they tie it to your character and to your performance. And so I think what you’re pointing to is very, very legitimate, and that’s why you see the numbers that you do among a lot of the members of the military and who they’re supporting. They don’t, you talk to these members of the military, it’s not like they like Donald Trump, or they think Donald Trump is going to be a superior commander-in-chief. They just can never find themselves settling for Hillary Clinton.
So why haven’t media figures pressed that question with Hillary Clinton — or James Comey, for that matter? One excuse might be that Hillary has evaded the press by refusing to conduct open press conferences for nine months. As Hugh points out, though, they had the opportunity yesterday to ask … and no one bothered:
HH: So yesterday, she has her first presser in 270 days. She does not get one question on the emails, even though John Lester, the lieutenant, nailed her on this thing. And people conclude that the media is complicit. I also wonder, Jim, do you remember when George W. Bush was alleged to have worn a wi-fi backpack at the 2004 debate? It was nuts. It was a crazy conspiracy theory.
JV: Right, right.
HH: I don’t know if Hillary had an earbud yesterday, but the media’s not investigating that, either. Is there, is the MSM all in for Hillary?
JV: You know, you and I have talked about this in the past, and I tend to be a defender of the media. And I tend to think that it’s overblown, what people think just lots of bias. I have a much different view this year, like having been starting a company and taking a little bit of a step back from looking at the politics moment by moment, particularly if you pay attention to Twitter. The number of mainstream media reporters who are out there expressing their explicit opinions, that tend to be decisively pro-Hillary and anti-Trump, to me is scary. I don’t, listen, Donald Trump gives you a lot things to fear and a lot of things to dislike. But you cannot, cannot, cannot as a reporter be taking sides in a public forum whether it’s on Twitter or whether it’s on email or whether it’s on TV.
The media’s not investigating it because the media isn’t interested in exploring Hillary Clinton’s corruption and criminal acts. The Washington Post’s editorial board made that clear today in a fact-deficient editorial proclaiming that everyone’s paying too much attention to the e-mail scandal rather than how awful Donald Trump is — even though their own pages have that latter beat covered 24/7:
Ms. Clinton is hardly blameless. She treated the public’s interest in sound record-keeping cavalierly. A small amount of classified material also moved across her private server. But it was not obviously marked as such, and there is still no evidence that national security was harmed. Ms. Clinton has also admitted that using the personal server was a mistake. The story has vastly exceeded the boundaries of the facts.
Imagine how history would judge today’s Americans if, looking back at this election, the record showed that voters empowered a dangerous man because of . . . a minor email scandal. There is no equivalence between Ms. Clinton’s wrongs and Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.
Actually, some of the classified material was marked as such, as even James Comey admitted while letting Hillary off the hook. Anyone who ever got a security indoctrination (as Hillary testified under oath that she completed by signing the NDA) would know what those markings meant. Her ludicrous explanation that the “(C)” designation for CONFIDENTIAL material looked like an alphabetical reference beggars belief, especially when the same documents contained “(SBU)” markings.
Besides, as Comey stated at the time, markings are actually irrelevant:
Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.
Color us shocked that the WaPo’s editors don’t appear to have been following the story well enough to comment on it. The fact that Hillary repeatedly lied about the e-mail server and her team acted to destroy records on it while under a Congressional preservation order apparently doesn’t pique the Post’s interest either, a far cry from its dogged Watergate reporting under Richard Nixon. If media editors take this kind of position about Hillary’s malfeasance in office, then small wonder their employees want to talk about anything else but official corruption.