NYT invents fake scandal about one of Bill Clinton’s greatest successes

The New York Times reported breathlessly yesterday on a new Clinton scandal. The only problem? There’s nothing there.

The crux of the Times’ “scandal” is that an aide to Bill Clinton asked the State Department for a diplomatic passport for two of his staff.

He didn’t get it. (And he should have.)

That’s it.

No clear connection to the Clinton Foundation. And no explanation as to why it was a bad thing for Clinton’s staff to ask for the passport.

Oh, but it gets better.

The two Bill Clinton staffers weren’t asking for a diplomatic passport so they could pick up chicks at Euro Disney. They were heading on a secret diplomatic mission to North Korea, with Bill Clinton, to negotiate the release of two American journalists held hostage by the North Korean regime. One of the journalists Bill Clinton rescued, Laura Ling, is the younger sister of CNN correspondent Lisa Ling.

You can watch my Facebook Live discussion of this “scandal” at the bottom of this page.

Yes, Bill Clinton, with the aid of a few staffers, was heading to the most brutally repressive regime on the planet, on a secret diplomatic mission on behalf of the US government, and he wanted diplomatic passports to protect his staff. And the Times is trying to portray that as some kind of frivolous, even nutty, request.

Mind you, let’s just ignore the fact that Clinton did it, he saved the two journalists.

I have to share the first two grafs of the story, so that you can fully appreciate how breathless the NYT was about their new “scandal”:

A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department agreed to try to obtain a special diplomatic passport for an adviser to former President Bill Clinton in 2009, according to emails released Thursday, raising new questions about whether people tied to the Clinton Foundation received special access at the department.

The request by the adviser, Douglas J. Band, who started one arm of the Clintons’ charitable foundation, was unusual, and the State Department never issued the passport. Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.

Note how the first two paragraphs of the story don’t mention North Korea at all. They talk about a “special” diplomatic passport, and “special access” for the adviser, as if there was nothing “special” about American citizens being asked to go on a secret diplomatic mission to the most repressive regime on the planet. Oh that’s right, none of that was mentioned in the lede of the story.

I particularly enjoyed this part of the story:

Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.

Now that’s interesting, because I had a” special passport” as a 25 y.o. congressional staffer working in the US Senate. And I’m pretty sure my boss’ passport was a diplomatic passport — I distinctly remember it was a step above my “official” passport. So the New York Times is wrong — it’s not only State Department officials and others with “diplomatic status” who are eligible for special passports.

The Times story is reminiscent of the recent Associated Press story that claimed, falsely, that half of the Hillary’s meetings at  State were with Clinton Foundation donors. You have to read through the entire story, and do a bit of math, to realize it’s a lie. And the AP still hasn’t retracted the false story, including a series of completely erroneous tweets.

With amateur (animus?) reporting like this, it’s no wonder that Hillary Clinton refuses to do a press conference. Why should she?

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Here’s my Facebook Live video discussing this story.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • lilyhammer

    My goodness: so true. Nothing to add.

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  • ComradeRutherford

    Of course they did. Telling the truth about the Clintons won’t get Trump elected, as the Ruling Class has commanded.

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  • Ty Morgan

    Face it, the NYT sucks.

  • fry1laurie

    And by the Clintons trying to avoid any appearance of impropriety, the media declares that there IS an appearance of impropriety. Ah, the Clinton Rules.

  • Good point, although she’s been slipping in most polls and should for all intents and purposes be much further ahead. But perhaps they want a closer race.

  • Phil in FLL

    If you doubt the agenda of trolls “longtime Americablog commenters” who are Trump surrogates, just Google the terms “obergefell,” “trump” and “supreme court.” The top Google search result from those three search terms is:

    Donald Trump: ‘Trust Me’ To Overturn The ‘Shocking’ Gay Marriage Decision

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/donald-trump-trust-me-overturn-shocking-gay-marriage-decision

  • Demosthenes

    Like other media outlets, the New York Times has decided it wants a close presidential contest, and is evidently uninterested in the danger the Donald poses to the very fabric of the Republic.

  • Cause it’s Nuyawk, silly.

  • goulo

    News outlets evidently profit more when a political race is closely contested than if the result is a foregone conclusion. Trump has been doing poorly lately, so a cynic might hypothesize that steps needed to be taken to make the race closer again.

  • Why would the NYT lie though (I’m not saying you’re wrong)? They spent so much time and effort trying to get Hillary elected during the primaries.

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  • Bill_Perdue

    Another example of the Great Right Wing Anti-Clintonite Conspiracy In Action.

  • wfrolik

    I knew the mainstream press hated the Clintons but when the alternative is Trump…the mind boggles. And as Digby notes the press seems eager to “soften” his image and bring him into the mainstream.

    Its beyond disturbing and truly terrifying.

  • Baal

    Meanwhile Trump used a foundation to bribe the Florida Attorney General who consequently stopped pursuing Trump University.

  • Meanwhile, Donald Trump owned — and still owns — a New York-based modeling agency named after himself (because, of course it is), which at minimum exploited dozens of teen age girls from all over the world, is accused of violating both labor and immigration visa laws, and at worst may have been involved in trafficking.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/donald-trump-model-management-illegal-immigration

    But somehow this is barely being reported upon, as the press and media breathlessly recycle GOP-originating demands that the Clintons shut down their charitable foundation, not because it’s doing anything bad — quite the opposite — but simply because reasons. Which obviously is intended to be a no-win scenario — leave it running and continuing to do its work around the globe with its health, education, and economic development programs, or shut it down, and either way the GOPers and their media lapdogs will bleat about how it “looks suspicious.”

  • Badgerite

    Well, this is a clear case of the dreaded Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Or click bait.
    Either way. It is not good reporting.
    This could also have something to do with the fact that way back when during the Whitewater Witch Hunt, the press did such a terrible job of reporting that they missed the real story entirely.
    And Hilary Clinton got it right. If the Clinton’s are allowed to, you know, do good things like run a charitable foundation that is one of the highest rated in the country for transparency, and efficiency and actually providing what it claims to provide, it might imply that the press got it wrong way back in the 90’s. Which, of course, they did. What went on was an unethical use of the legal system and the GOP control of Congress to harass and smear a sitting president and any one even tangentially close to his administration. Bill Clinton gave them the fodder they needed with his penchant for womanizing but the Clintons did then and clearly still do love, admire and respect each other. And that also was something that Hilary Clinton was berated for. Often. Her commitment to her marriage and her husband.
    And what did the GOP seek to achieve with this legal and political harassment? Well, Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House was the first to pioneer the tactic of the government shutdown to achieve the political ends of the GOP. And what were those political ends?
    Quoting from Wikipedia:
    “The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1995-1996 were the result of conflicts with the Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget.”
    Bill Clinton, of course, saw those programs as very beneficial and necessary to the average American and future generations. The GOP did not.

  • Badgerite

    Totally.

  • Badgerite

    So they don’t have to do any real work. He’ll just tell them what they can and cannot print.
    Or maybe ‘John Miller” or ‘John Barron’ will. With trump, one never knows who is going to show up.

  • sam

    my brother had a ‘diplomatic’ passport when he was in the peace corps. I don’t know if that counts as ‘state department employee’ or some other status. But he certainly wasn’t a diplomat.

  • If we are actually living in a computer simulation as some believe, whoever is in charge really needs to hit CTL-ALT-DEL and reboot this sucker, because it has gotten totally f*cked up.

  • Demosthenes

    Why does the NYT want President Trump?

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