The author of “Clinton Cash,” the widely debunked collection of baseless speculation masquerading as an exposé of Hillary Clinton, had yet another opportunity to hawk his snake oil on Fox News’ MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz. Peter Schweizer was interviewed about the book in the friendliest of settings where he received almost no challenge to the numerous errors he published.
Despite the fact that the entire premise of his book is that Hillary Clinton engaged in illegal activities, Schweizer told Kurtz that “I don’t think the standard of any news organization would be that we only report things when we have evidence of illegality.” So, according to Schweizer, the evidence of illegality is not a prerequisite for writing a book accusing someone of illegality. That is a justification for speculation, at best, and slander, at worst. In any case, it is not journalism.
Schweizer was asked about whether, due to his past associations, it would be appropriate to characterize him as partisan. Schweizer’s answer was that he is a conservative, but that does not equate to being a Republican. Really?
For the record, his associations include consorting with the Koch brothers, writing for Breitbart News, heading the ultra-rightist Government Accountability Institute (also affiliated with Breitbart and the Koch brothers), being a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, contributing to Glenn Beck’s book, Broke, and serving as an aide to both George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Now why would anyone think that he might be a partisan Republican?
Schweizer and Kurtz also discussed his alleged investigation into the finances of Jeb Bush. This is frequently brought up as proof of his political independence. However, it proves nothing of the sort. First, it remains to be seen if he ever publishes anything critical of Bush. This may all be talk. And second, many Republicans are opposing Bush in favor of more radically right-wing Republicans like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker. So Schweizer may just be among that contingent of the GOP, and still blatantly partisan.
The entire segment with Kurtz was a useless piece of froth that did nothing but help to promote Schweizer’s book. This could have been predicted from the outset after hearing Kurtz’s first question:
“The coverage of your book has started to turn. Now you’ve acknowledged in interviews that you can’t prove, don’t have a document showing that Hillary Clinton took any specific action intentionally to help donors to the Clinton Foundation. But, are much of the mainstream media giving you a harder time because you’re going after the Clintons?”
Notice that Kurtz started off his question with the valid criticism of Schweizer’s lack of evidence for the crimes his book alleges. But then Kurtz swerves to avoid making Schweizer answer those criticisms by instead bashing the media and throwing Schweizer a softball about what a hard time he has had at the hands of the so-called liberal press that just loves Hillary. A real journalist would have pursued the first part of that question and abandoned the second part as pointless drivel. But Kurtz made his choice which resulted in this response from Schweizer:
“I think there’s a certain element of that, yes. I think part of it is because there have been a lot of scandal books – so-called scandal books – in the past. But I also think that there’s this sense that they’re looking for political motivation in what I’m doing. And I think that you certainly can look behind the motivations of what people are doing, but you also ought to look at the facts themselves.”
Schweizer is actually right on two points. There have been a lot of so-called scandal books about Clinton. And none have proved any wrongdoing whatsoever – just like Schweizer’s. They have, however, defamed her as a lesbian cocaine smuggler who murdered White House counsel Vince Foster, was raped by husband Bill which resulted in Chelsea, hired a terrorist member of the Muslim Brotherhood as a close aide, and is hiding her true identity as a blood-drinking reptilian. And so much more.
The second point Schweizer got right was that it is important to look at the facts. That is something that he, by his own admission, didn’t do in his book, which is all speculation. And it is something that Kurtz also failed to do in his interview. But facts have never been a priority for Fox News and the conservative movement for which they are the propaganda machine. So no one should be surprised that they aren’t starting to care about facts now.
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Thankfully, Stephen Colbert was one of the first serious journalists to uncover the rapidly expanding epidemic of Hillary Clinton scandals. Here are a couple he reported on last year.