Hats off to the Associated Press!
The Associated Press is an important part of the mainstream media, and yet it seems to have embraced a practice now largely abandoned by the MSN . . . reporting the news.
If you want an incisive take on just how far gone American media is, Michael Goodwin's Sunday column ("American Journalism Is Collapsing Before Our Eyes"), is it. Goodwin wrote:
Donald Trump may or may not fix his campaign, and Hillary Clinton may or may not become the first female president. But something else happening before our eyes is almost as important: the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.
The frenzy to bury Trump is not limited to the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House. They are working hand in hand with what was considered the cream of the nation’s news organizations.
The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America.
Goodwin was a reporter under the legendary New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, who realized that reporters lean to the left but still aimed to "keep the paper straight." This is no longer the case:
A recent article by [New York Times] media reporter, Jim Rutenberg, whom I know and like, began this way: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”
Whoa, Nellie. The clear assumption is that many reporters see Trump that way, and it is noteworthy that no similar question is raised about Clinton, whose scandals are deserving only of “scrutiny.” Rutenberg approvingly cites a leftist journalist who calls one candidate “normal” and the other “abnormal.”
Clinton is hardly “normal” to the 68 percent of Americans who find her dishonest and untrustworthy, though apparently not a single one of those people writes for the Times. Statistically, that makes the Times “abnormal.”
Veering, unlike the New York Times, into the art of digging, the AP published, as you already no doubt know, a ground-breaking investigative story that found that more than half the non-government people Hillary Clinton met with while she was secretary of state had been donors to the Clinton Foundation (here and here). What are the odds of that?
It was an impressive piece of reporting that found that:
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
. . .
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
The AP's findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton Foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.
The Clinton campaign issued a statement accusing the AP of cherry-picking data (if the AP had factored in meetings with government or foreign visitors, the percentage would have been different–some defense!). The Associated Press issued a statement in response. It revealed a favorite tactic of the Clintons–blocking the release of information to which the public has a right:
AP first requested Mrs. Clinton’s calendars and schedules in 2010 and again in 2013 but was unsuccessful. AP then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the schedules it has received so far. AP expects to receive the remaining files before Election Day and will continue to examine them and report on their contents.AP has been transparent in how it has reported this story. It focused on Mrs. Clinton’s meetings and calls involving people outside government who were not federal employees or foreign diplomats, because meeting with U.S. or foreign government officials would inherently have been part of her job as secretary of state.We focused on Mrs. Clinton’s meetings and calls involving those people outside her duties as secretary of state whom she chose to include in her busy schedule.This reporting was done by the same AP investigative team that discovered Mrs. Clinton’s private email server and traced it to her basement in Chappaqua, New York, and whose reporting last week resulted in the resignation of Donald Trump’s top campaign strategist. AP has been examining issues facing the presidential candidates and will continue to do so.
There are lots of reasons for the decline of mainstream media organizations.
Perhaps one is that they no longer repor the news.
They should consider that, based on the response to the AP story, there is still a market for scoops.