Right Hooks

Presstitutes and the Clintons Who Pimp Them

"You don't say you were blackmailed!"

Dan Gilmore · Feb. 10, 2016
Making journalism

For at least two prominent Beltway journalists, trading independence for fleeting scoops is all part of the media churn. A recent batch of emails released by the State Department thanks to a FOIA requests contained a 2009 exchange between former Atlantic contributing editor Marc Ambinder and Hillary Clinton mouthpiece Philippe Reines that demonstrated a clear example of transactional journalism. Clinton was a few months into her appointment as secretary of state when she gave a July 15 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations — a speech that The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple notes nobody remembers anymore. Ambinder contacted the Clinton machine to ask for an advance transcript of the speech. In the reply email, Reines said he would hand over the transcript, provided Ambinder complied with three conditions.

1) You in your own voice describe [Clinton’s remarks] as “muscular”

2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from Holbrooke to Mitchell to Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say [is] certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something

3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!

“Got it,” Ambinder replied. And sure enough, in the journalist’s finished piece, all three of Clinton’s demands were met in the first paragraph. Fellow Beltway scribbler Mike Allen of Politico also used the adjective “muscular” to describe Clinton’s speech, implying that he too followed directions from Clinton’s spin machine.

The two journalists violated a key tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics: To act independently because “[t]he highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.” People may debate whether or not Clinton generally receives favorable media coverage, but it seems evident that some reporters are content to become Clinton’s presstitutes. And then they wonder why nobody trusts the Leftmedia.

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