by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A set of emails has exposed a sordid, transactional relationship between Hillary Clinton and the press.
The emails were obtained by Gawker as part of a large Freedom of Information Act request it made back in 2012. They show a 2009 exchange between Marc Ambinder, then-politics editor of The Atlantic, and Philippe Reines, a close assistant and adviser to Clinton during her days as Secretary of State.
Ambinder asked Reines for an advance copy of a speech Clinton was scheduled to give at the Council on Foreign Relations. Rather than simply say yes or no, Reines cut a deal with Ambinder, turning over the speech provided Ambinder agreed to three conditions:
1) You in your own voice describe [the speech] as “muscular”
2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from [Richard] Holbrooke to [George] Mitchell to [Dennis] Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something
3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!
Ambinder agrees in the exchange, and his subsequent article shows that he followed Reines’ demands to the letter. Clinton’s speech is dubbed “muscular” in the second sentence, and the suggestive arrangement of Holbrooke, Mitchell, and Ross is noted immediately afterward. Ambinder never reveals that he was fulfilling demands made by Reines. In essence, in return for a scoop, Ambinder allowed Clinton’s team to dictate part of his coverage.