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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Media failing at its job in Clinton ‘scandal’ coverage

Before Hillary Clinton has even stepped through the door into the building that is the 2016 race, Republican interests have had their fighters warming up and undermining Clinton’s steps. For over three weeks now, Clinton has been dogged by the so-called email “scandal” — an arguably regular practice for which she is facing unfair scrutiny. 

Were she in the ring already, this behavior would be considered mere mud-slinging, but she isn’t.

With folks like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush already lacing their gloves, it makes sense that the Republican Party is so interested in Democrats who have also expressed interest in the presidency. But it also seems like this fight should be fought amongst the candidates, not through media coverage that takes preemptive jabs at one opponent. So why all the fuss over Clinton? 

The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza wrote on Nov. 17, “The Inevitability Trap: Hillary Clinton and the drawbacks of being the front-runner.” He described a rally in New Hampshire, where “[she] asked at the rally what many were thinking: ‘Are we ready for Hillary?’ The crowd chanted Clinton’s name, and she mouthed a thank-you.”

This unrivaled support of a figure whose name is familiar to every voter is undoubtedly worrying to the Republican side, particularly in its currently divided state.

Regardless, it hardly seems justifiable to attack her character over the use of a personal email account as secretary of state, something hardly unprecedented. 

On March 10, Clinton held a press conference in which she explained that she used a personal email for convenience and didn’t think it would be an issue to mix her personal and work emails. As she stated, “the vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.” 

She also explained why this issue was even brought up in the first place — she was not, after all, the first secretary of state to opt out of using a .gov email account for work.

“[After] I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work-related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related, which totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages, even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them.”

Clinton even addressed the matter of deleting the emails off her server, which is now capturing news headlines, stating that she chose to erase her personal private emails from the server after she thoroughly searched for all emails the State Department could need. This explanation goes above and beyond what anyone asked of her at the time, and yet the majority of news sites continue to push. A pusher herself, Clinton “took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all [her] work-related emails public for everyone to see.”

Over two weeks later, the media is still gossiping about the story as though her press conference didn’t even take place. And nearly everyone but Clinton herself acts as though her candidacy is imminent, and cannot focus on anything else.

While CBS covered the story in early March, referring to the former secretary of state as “likely Democratic presidential candidate,” Clinton was preparing for the Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Event at the United Nations, where she was keynote speaker.

The next day, she made a surprise appearance at the eBay Women’s Summit in San Jose. 

On March 23, while a biased CNN/ORC poll was gathering the public’s opinion on Clinton’s character and ability to serve as president in regards to her use of a personal email account, Clinton was sitting at a roundtable hosted by the Center for American Progress, discussing issues in urban areas. She also presented the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting to Dan Balz, a Washington Post reporter.

And of course, there’s another possibility for the media obsession with this case beyond the need to discredit the presumptive Democratic nominee.

During the press conference Clinton gaveh, as Kahraman Haliscelik with Turkish Television asked, “[If] you were a man today, would all this fuss being made be made?”

Considering Colin Powell’s well-known use of personal email while he was serving as secretary of state, the answer to that question seems quite clear.

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Kaitlin Libby is a junior studying environmental studies and information science. Follow her on Twitter.

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