The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Which Candidate’s Dirty Laundry Loses The Election?

Mark Twain said: “If you don’t read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read them you are misinformed.”

The media are having a field day reporting about the candidates’ dirty laundry.

The Pant Suit’s problem is her dirty laundry. The relationship between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State seems a bit unseemly. Yet, isn’t this basically “how things work” in the real world?

Given Wrongo’s 40+ years in corporate life, including a stretch where lobbying the White House and Congress was part of his job description, there doesn’t seem to be much that’s different in the Clinton Foundation’s efforts to link up like-minded people.

The Pant Suit’s email problem is another issue. You can take a deep dive into the web’s feast on Clinton’s private servers and emails. It takes you to a series of questions about what was classified and when, her gone-missing mobile devices and what she said in email, or to the FBI. Nothing Wrongo has seen undermines the FBI’s judgment that Clinton was grossly irresponsible in handling classified information but still did nothing warranting prosecution.

The question is whether bad judgement undermines her chances to be president.

The problem with the Pant Load is his dirty laundry. Among his multiple scandals, is what appear to be payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University.

It might surprise you to learn that Trump has a charitable organization, since he personally gives almost no money to charity, but the Donald J. Trump Foundation does in fact exist, and it was fined by the IRS this year for making an illegal political contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. At the time, Bondi’s office was investigating claims that Trump University was a fraudulent organization designed to bilk people out of their money. After receiving the contribution (which she had solicited), Bondi decided to do nothing.

HuffPo reports that after Bondi dropped the Trump U. case, the Pant Load hosted a funds-raiser for her at Mar-a-Lago. They also say that the Trumps collectively (foundation, Donald and Ivanka) donated $125,000 to the Florida Republican Party, which was the largest donor to Bondi. Was that solicitation of a bribe? That’s a crime. Offering a bribe? A crime. Accepting a bribe? A crime. Acting on a bribe? A crime.

This happened in 2013, but few media covered it until this week. Nobody pretends that Donald Trump is a paragon of honesty, but it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve when compared to Hillary Clinton, if press coverage is the yardstick.

So, why the focus on dirty laundry?

The fairest viewpoint is that the continued airing of dirty laundry is the media’s effort to offer a case against both candidates. A skeptic would say they are chasing ratings, trying to follow the money. They play up the Clinton scandals, and downplay the “ridiculous man running a ridiculous campaign” meme.

And the result is that the polls seem to be tightening.

The continuing avalanche of negative and unflattering press is probably going to accelerate that process, and some of the press are punting: Chris Wallace, one of the upcoming presidential debate moderators, is on record as saying that his job as the moderator does not include calling out bullshit when he hears it.

Who knows what the possible consequences will be for the nation and the world?

Charlie Pierce gets the important role of the media just right: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

More than anything else, and more than any other election in my lifetime, this election will go one way or the other based on how well-informed the electorate is that ultimately turns out.

NPR reported that Hillary Clinton spent 20 minutes answering reporters’ questions on a wide variety of topics on the campaign plane, but “her answers didn’t make news”, while her coughing fit did.

So that’s become the new standard. Trump’s utterances are minimized, yet Hillary’s coughing is a thing to discuss incessantly, while her answers to press pool questions are not worth reporting.

The press is desperate to report foibles, or scandals. What else an we do but to listen to “Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley, which was #1 on the Billboard chart in 1982:

The song’s theme is that TV news coverage focuses too much on negative and sensationalist news; in particular, deaths, disasters, and scandals, with little regard to the consequences, or what is important.

Partial Lyrics:

I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

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