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The Clinton Rules


powell-wideAbove: Only A Fool Or Frenchman Could Question His Unimpeachable Integritude!

The contrast between how the Clinton Foundation and Colin Powell’s foundation have been covered is indeed striking:

Because Colin Powell did not have the reputation in the mid- to late ’90s of being a corrupt or shady character, his decision to launch a charity in 1997 was considered laudable. Nobody would deny that the purpose of the charity was, in part, to keep his name in the spotlight and keep his options open for future political office. Nor would anybody deny that this wasn’t exactly a case of Powell having super-relevant expertise. What he had to offer was basically celebrity and his good name. By supporting Powell’s charity, your company could participate in Powell’s halo.

But when the press thinks of you as a good guy, leveraging your good reputation in this way is considered a good thing to do. And since the charity was considered a good thing to do, keeping the charity going when Powell was in office as secretary of state was also considered a good thing to do. And since Powell was presumed to be innocent — and since Democrats did not make attacks on Powell part of their partisan strategy — his charity was never the subject of a lengthy investigation.

Which is lucky for him, because as Clinton could tell you, once you are the subject of a lengthy investigation, the press doesn’t like to report, “Well, we looked into it and we didn’t find anything interesting.”

Instead we get things like:

An Associated Press investigation whose big reveal is that Clinton once tried to help out a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was in hot water with the ruling party of his home country.
An LA Times story headlined “Billionaire’s Clinton Ties Face Scrutiny,” about a rich Lebanese-Nigerian man who appears to be genuinely somewhat shady, gave money to the Clinton Foundation, and received nothing in exchange.
A Wall Street Journal story about how the crown prince of Bahrain scored a meeting with Hillary Clinton years after having donated to the Clinton Foundation. The story somehow forgets to mention that Rice, Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Warren Christopher had all also met with him during their tenures as secretary of state
An ABC investigation that concluded a donor had used a foundation connection to get a better seating assignment at State Department function.

Three of these stories, in other words, found no wrongdoing whatsoever but chose to insinuate that they had found wrongdoing in order to make the stories seem more interesting. The AP even teased its story with a flagrantly inaccurate tweet, which it now concedes was inaccurate but won’t take down or correct. The final investigation into the seat assignments at least came up with something, but it’s got to be just about the most trivial piece of donor special treatment you can think of.

Did one of Alma Powell’s donors ever ask for a better seat at a Powell-era function? Nobody knows, because nobody would think to ask.

The Clintons have made mistakes. But it’s absolutely true that going back to Whitewater the media has been inventing anti-Clinton scandals out of absolutely nothing, and this continues in earnest during this campaign.

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