Slate plays dumb about the Clinton Foundation

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

We've noticed lots of news outlets that have done this. When discussing Bill Clinton and the foundation he heads (and there's been lots of discussion lately about possible conflicts of interest with Hillary perhaps becoming SoS), the word that the Beltway media often refuses to use in connection with the foundation is "charity."

Chris Matthews did this all the time on MSNBC in recent days, relentlessly referring to international "business" connections Bill Clinton has. Charity was almost never mentioned.

Slate just published a 900-word piece in which writer Christopher Beam insists Clinton close down his foundation because of the "inevitable" financial scandals that will emerge in coming years, and how it would distract from his wife's work as SoS. The tsk-tsking article mentions "foundation" 21 times. But for some reason it only mentions "charity" once. ("Charity" also appears in the pun-driven headline.)

Interestingly, the piece never actually explains to readers what the Clinton Foundation does. Answer: It helps poor people around the world.

Why does Slate purposely play dumb about what the Clinton Foundation is? Why does Slate carefully avoid mentioning the Clinton Foundation battles the HIV/AIDS pandemic and fights hunger in Africa? My guess is that makes it easier for Slate to make the cavalier demand that, in order to please Beltway nay-sayers, the foundation must be shut down; that "the Clinton Foundation effectively has to close shop."

If Slate thinks its narrow definition of conflict of interest trumps helping poor people around the world, than just say so. But don't play dumb in the process.

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