Republicans just got a jolt of reality smashed in their faces by a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that Hillary Clinton is wildly popular among Democrats (92%) and is beating the GOP front-runners by substantial margins (Jeb Bush by eight points, Marco Rubio by ten, Scott Walker by fourteen). This is after much of the right-wing media has been crowing about how Clinton is supposedly damaged goods due to the manufactured scandals that have been aimed at her. Fox News in particular has been almost giddy reporting that Clinton’s reputation for trustworthiness has allegedly been tarnished by Fox-generated stories about emails and charities and Benghazi.
The new poll results indicate that the glee in the imagineering suites at Fox may be premature. So something in the realm of Rupert Murdoch must be done to churn up the Clinton-loathing and cheer up the Fox viewers. And they apparently have settled on their plan.
The Murdoch-owned New York Post just published a story by Peter Schweizer, author of “Clinton Cash,” the the widely debunked book from Murdoch’s HarperCollins publishing subsidiary. The Post article then became the topic of a segment on Murdoch’s Fox News program “Fox & Friends.” The article was also re-posted on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. This is obviously an effort to flood the zone with as many Murdoch-run outlets as possible. The article features a headline that will likely score the Delusional Headline of the Week Award: “Clinton Cash Author Demolishes Hillary’s Self-Defense.” That headline is completely accurate – as long as your definition of “demolish” is “to utterly fail to rationally impair.”
Schweizer attempts to rebut some recent comments made by Clinton in response to a reporter’s inquiry. She was asked about her role in approving the sale of a uranium mining company to a Russian enterprise. She answered clearly that she had no role in the decision as it does not fall into the purview of the Secretary of State. Schweizer seems to have been incapable of understanding that response and set about to “demolish” it in three steps. Here is what Post readers and Fox viewers are supposed to think is a demolition of Clinton’s defense in Schweizer’s own words:
“First, nine investors who profited from the uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to Hillary’s family foundation … But Hillary expects Americans to believe she had no knowledge [of it].”
The issue of donations to the Clinton Foundation is old news that has been extensively analyzed and dismissed for lack of any trace of wrongdoing. There are thousands of donors to the Foundation which, unlike similar groups, fully discloses who their donors are. And with all of that information available, there has not been a single proven allegation of the Clintons trading favors for contributions. Furthermore, Clinton has never said that she had no knowledge of these affairs, just that the decisions were made at a lower level within the State Department. Therefore, there could not have been any influence peddling.
“Second, during her Sunday interview, Clinton was asked about the Kremlin-backed bank that paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a single speech delivered in Moscow. Hillary’s response? She dodged the question completely.”
What makes this assertion interesting is that the paragraph following the one in which Schweizer accuses Clinton of dodging the question completely, includes her explicit answer to the question. Some dodge. Clinton said plainly that “The timing doesn’t work.” because the speech, and the compensation for it, came “before I was Secretary of State.” So having failed to make any sense, Schweizer shifts gears to point to an entirely different financial transaction about which Clinton was not asked. Even so, without having been asked, her prior response stating that she could not have traded any favors since she was not making the decision applies to this transaction as well.
“Third, Clinton correctly notes in the interview that ‘there were nine government agencies who had to sign off on that deal.’ What she leaves out, of course, is that her State Department was one of them.”
Not only did Clinton correctly note that nine agencies are required to sign off on the deal in question, she has repeatedly noted that the State Department was one of them. In fact, it was Clinton’s staff that corrected the error in Schweizer’s book that omitted this fact. So Clinton did not leave out the State Department’s role, but Schweizer did leave out the role of the other agencies. What’s more, he continues to suggest that there are some financial shenanigans on Clinton’s part, even though she could not push through any favors for donors because without the other agency head’s approvals there would be no deal.
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In the end, Schweizer failed to coherently rebut a single thing that Clinton said in her interview. His only recourse was to incredulously ask whether Americans can believe Clinton’s version of events. Well, according to the poll cited above, the answer seems to be an enthusiastic “yes.” And all of the effort, investment, and deceit that went into this full-court press by the Murdoch media against Clinton seems to have been wasted. Unfortunately, that is not likely to deter these unethical, pseudo-journalistic cretins from doing more of the same for the next year and a half. So settle in for a campaign season of viciousness and lies, because that’s all the right has to work with.