The decision of the Manchild in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States to threaten to launch nuclear misses at North Korea prompted Nate to express outrage about how badly the political media botched coverage of the campaign that resulted in his election:
Gotta be honest: On a night like tonight, I'm still pretty pissed at those journalists and news organizations which treated Hillary Clinton's email server as a matter of apocalyptic importance.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 3, 2018
The White House reporter of the Washington Post had a reaction that perfectly encapsulates the problem:
She was Secretary of State and communicated almost exclusively over a private email server in her basement. https://t.co/c9uLNRLvKz
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 3, 2018
Even leaving aside the major howler, this is still telling. More than a year later, big-time political reporters assert that it was self-evidently justified to treat this minor breach of IT best practices as being more important than any of Trump’s actual scandals and every substantive issue combined. He doesn’t try to explain why it’s supposed to be so important. And he doesn’t do this for the obvious reason that once you start trying to explain it you’ll fail. Dawsey’s tweet strongly implies that Clinton’s server was less secure, a claim that is of course demonstrably false. If the claim is that she was trying to shield her emails from inspection, the obvious problem is that “the allegation that the server setup was an elaborate con to evade transparency law is doubly ridiculous. On the one hand, a private server would not be necessary to carry it out. (All you need is to have a private email address on the side, which everyone does.) While on the other hand, the exclusive use of a personal email account means that Clinton’s personal account has come under an exceptional level of security.” This is trivia — a one day story at most. You can tell this by the fact that the political reporters who claimed to be obsessed with the issue haven’t cared about it ever since or ever before.
And yet it dominated the campaign and as weaponized by the FBI put Trump in the White House. Which of course is why the editors and reporters responsible are so incredibly defensive about their performance.
In addition, the fact that prominent reporters are still asserting-without-argument that this bullshit was a major story and still unable to even get through a tweet without getting a fact wrong more than a year after the election should make it pretty clear that the arguments that Clinton could have preempted the scandal by being more or less apologetic earlier or later (there are as many One Magic Trick just-so stories as there are apologists for the media’s priorities, none of them remotely plausible) are silly.