Soon-to-be-former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t the only person acutely feeling scrutiny and shame after last week’s WikiLeaks email release implicated her in shady dealings on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. Now Politico’s chief investigative reporter, Kenneth P. Vogel, is also facing backlash over the revelation that he sent an entire copy of an article to the DNC for review before publication.
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The DNC emails leak showed that several staffers not only favored former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the bitter primary season, but even conspired to aid her, despite the fact the DNC is supposed to remain “neutral” until a candidate has clinched the nomination. And now that Vogel’s Politico mishap has been uncovered, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s assertions about the media’s collusion with Democrats to benefit Clinton are being vindicated.
“The Democrats are in a total meltdown but the biased media will say how great they are doing! Emails say the rigged system is alive & well!”
“The Democrats are in a total meltdown but the biased media will say how great they are doing! Emails say the rigged system is alive & well!” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “If the Republican Convention had blown up with emails, resignation of boss and the beat down of a big player (Bernie), media would go wild.”
Trump added on Monday, “Wow, the Republican Convention went so smoothly compared to the Dems total mess. But fear not, the dishonest media will find a good spinman!”
The email that puts Vogel on the hot seat was sent on April 30 to Mark Paustenbach, the national press secretary and deputy communications director for the DNC. The email, which Paustenbach forwarded on, was titled, “Fwd: per agreement … any thoughts appreciated” and included Vogel’s piece that would later be published on May 2. The piece was titled, “Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties.”
“Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach wrote. “Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”
Upon the WikiLeaks release of Vogel’s email, Politico spokesman Brad Dayspring told The Huffington Post that Vogel’s conduct did not comply with Politico’s standard policies, but also offered excuses and cover to the embattled reporter.
“Politico’s policy is to not share editorial content pre-publication except as approved by editors,” Dayspring wrote in an email. “Checking the relevant passages for accuracy was responsible and consistent with our standards; sharing the full piece was a mistake and not consistent with our policies.”
Dayspring also contended no substantive changes were made to the article after it was circulated to DNC leadership.
Regardless of how many “substantive changes” were or were not made after Vogel forwarded his story to the DNC staffer, the WikiLeaks release showed that the Democratic Establishment and at least one media outlet had been working together on the articles that readers use to gather, filter and interpret their own information. One can only wonder how many other times this sort of collusion has occurred within the media that Trump claims is “rigged” and “biased.”
Coming on the heels of the DNC WikiLeaks, an “unaired” clip of Clinton and vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine was released from CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program this weekend. In the unflattering clip, that CBS chose not to air, host Scott Pelley asked Clinton whether about what she knew regarding the DNC email scandal. And Clinton’s answers – and non-answers – were quite telling.
“You have people in the Democratic National Committee who are supposed to be, if you will, agnostic about who the nominee is going to be, and they seem to have their thumb on the scale for you,” Pelley asked. “They seem to be working against Bernie Sanders, their fellow Democrat.”
“Again, I don’t know anything, I don’t know anything about, uh, about these emails. I haven’t followed it,” Clinton responded.
“In your view, any effort in the DNC to favor one candidate or another would have been improper?” Pelley countered.
“Again, I don’t have any information about this, and so I can’t answer specifically,” Clinton rejoined.
Although the full effects that these revelations will have on the mainstream media’s credibility with the American public during the 2016 election season remain to be seen, this not-so-subtle bias rings true with Trump’s warnings of a “rigged” system.