I’m not always the biggest fan of Matthew Yglesias, but today he hits it out of the park with an explanation, using relatively small words, of why the “email scandal” is a fraud. Long but a really good read, especially if you or your friends are still defensive and/or apprehensive about Clinton’s alleged “ethical problems.” Here’s the TLDR:
Network newscasts have, remarkably, dedicated more airtime to coverage of Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined.
Cable news has been, if anything, worse, and many prestige outlets have joined the pileup. One malign result of obsessive email coverage is that the public is left totally unaware of the policy stakes in the election. Another is that the constant vague recitations of the phrase ‘‘Clinton email scandal’’ have firmly implanted the notion that there is something scandalous about anything involving Hillary Clinton an email, including her campaign manager getting hacked or the revelation that one of her aides sometimes checked mail on her husband’s computer.
But none of this is true. Clinton broke no laws according to the FBI itself. Her setup gave her no power to evade federal transparency laws beyond what anyone who has a personal email account of any kind has. Her stated explanation for her conduct is entirely believable, fits the facts perfectly, and is entirely plausible to anyone who doesn’t simply start with the assumption that she’s guilty of something.
Given Powell’s conduct, Clinton wasn’t even breaking with an informal precedent. The very worst you can say is that, faced with an annoying government IT policy, she used her stature to find a personal workaround rather than a systemic fix that would work for everyone. To spend so much time on such a trivial matter would be absurd in a city council race, much less a presidential election. To do so in circumstances when it advances the electoral prospects of a rival who has shattered all precedents in terms of lacking transparency or basic honesty is infinitely more scandalous than anything related to the server itself.
If this country is, as so many fear, on the precipice of a political catastrophe of biblical proportions, and we’re all going to die much sooner than the actuaries would predict, then I for one will die with hate in my heart for the media fuckwits who’ve once again shown more interest in zinging those upstart hillbillies from Arkansas than in letting the public know what’s really at stake in this election.
As I said earlier this afternoon, I don’t believe that’s going to happen, but if I’m wrong and it does I’ll put this out there right now: Wolf Blitzer, I’ve got a couple of large kitchen knives with your name on them. When the chaos starts, you better watch your back, pal.