Media acting like Hillary Clinton's Praetorian Guard

David Harsanyi:
Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was finally asked a tough question during NBC's commander-in-chief forum, so naturally the establishment media immediately coagulated around the notion that NBC's Matt Lauer was the worst moderator ever.

An Air Force and Navy veteran, who said he held "the top secret sensitive compartmentalized information clearance," said to Clinton regarding her acts as secretary of state, "Had I communicated this information not following prescribed protocols, I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned." He then asked, "Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who were and are trusted with America's most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security?"

How could Lauer allow a veteran to spend precious time on Clinton's email "scandal," they wondered from the bubble? Since Clinton claims that her experience is what makes her ready "on day one," it's not unreasonable to wonder why she still supposedly didn't understand how classified documents worked; or why she engaged in actions that probably allowed foreign actors to access top secret information; or why she attempted to obstruct the investigation into those emails. We can't talk about Donald Trump tweets 24/7, after all.

For critics, there was an even uglier moment. How could Lauer let Trump get away with lying about his position on Iraq? This was the big takeaway last night, and the dominant apprehension of the media, the sanctity of the candidate roundtable and political debates. As if politicians blatantly lying about their positions were a unique event.

Basically, everyone lied about everything at the forum. Yet rarely was any of the post-forum hand-wringing concerned about Clinton's performance. It is true that Clinton's distortions are better-couched, but why was there no pushback when she claimed that no Americans died taking in Libya "action" in 2011? Why was there no fact-check on Clinton's false intimation that no one hacked her emails? The consensus is that a foreign nation probably did hack her classified emails. No one seemed exceptionally concerned about her prevaricating on that one.

Now, media types are wondering if perhaps moderators should engage in spontaneous fact-checks, which, theoretically, sounds like a wonderful idea. In practice, though, as the very stories calling for fact-checks illustrate, the media is highly selective in ascertaining which inaccuracies they find problematic, and which would skew coverage even more than it's already skewed -- if that's possible. Imagine Candy Crowley, who moderated the second presidential debate in 2012, using incorrect information to defend President Barack Obama from Gov. Mitt Romney but having no moderator challenging the president's litany of untruths regarding Obamacare.

Republicans "lie," but Democrats offer imprecise or nuanced assertions that can be transformed into a truth with a couple of Vox explainers.
There is more.

Even when the campaign press corps gets a few minutes to ask questions  they tend to ask inane questions that do not really challenge many of her numerous lies.  Both candidates say things that are not true, but the media is not as keen on fact checking one of the most notorious liars to ever run for office.


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