On AM Joy, Media Matters' Eric Boehlert Calls Out Media's Campaign Transparency Double Standard

Boehlert: Clinton “Gets Penalized For Disclosures, For Being Transparent,” But Trump Gets Off Free

From the September 17 edition of MSNBC's AM Joy:

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JOY ANN REID (HOST): How is it that Donald Trump is seen as more transparent and what does transparency even mean?

ERIC BOEHLERT: Transparency is the buzzword, right? So a lot of it came from the story last week and her sickness, and the press really jumped on this idea, “well she hid it from us, and she hid from the press pool, she ran away.” And so then they kind of spun this larger story that she's a uniquely secretive politician, right? So we have this crazy double standard because, as I wrote last week, she gets penalized for disclosures, for being transparent. Clinton Foundation. Clinton Foundation has no obligation to release any donor information. They put it all online. Does she get credit for that? No. The press goes in and sort of concocts these conflicts of interest, pay for play, and then after a year and a half say “well there's nothing wrong but it doesn't look good.” Right? So they weaponized these disclosures against her. This goes back to the 90s with Whitewater. A lot of that stuff was built around rumaging through disclosures, not finding anything wrong, and then announcing it doesn't look good, right? And a quick point on the tax returns. She's the only person running for president now who has complete tax disclosures for the last 30 years, does she get credit for being transparent? No, she gets hit for being secretive. 

REID: And it's interesting because there is this sort of equivalency gene that everybody in media is sort of I guess born with where it's like “I don't want to see like I'm not balanced.” So even if she released her health records, you can't just say “well Donald Trump should release his,” you say “well she should release more,” right? And on tax returns “she should release more” even if she already has. 

TOURÉ: Part of the problem is that the major scandal with Hillary has been email, right? But Trump has a new scandal everyday, right? So when we talk about it we have five minutes, we've got to get through the segment in five minutes. We're going to talk about 10 Trump scandals in five minutes, so each one will get two seconds. Then we're going to spend five minutes on Hillary. So to the audience it seems like “well email must be the worst thing because that's the thing that they spent the most time on.” 


REID: How much of that has to do with the candidates personal decisions on how much access she gives us? 

BOEHLERT: The press has been complaining that she doesn't give enough access, right? She wasn't having press conferences. Now she is having press conferences, she doesn't really get credit for that. From what I understand Trump has not given a press conference since July. 

REID: Why do you suppose he doesn't get more demerits for those things? I mean yesterday the press, I think, was genuinely angry at the way they were treated in DC.

BOEHLERT: Yes. They got duped. 

REID: I mean literally, it was a bait and switch. Then the ridicule on Breitbart, was to show a picture of Harambe, which I don't even want to posit what that could have been about. But literally just trolling the media now and I think now you're starting to see maybe people will start to treat him or feel about him the way that they have felt about her. But why do you suppose that up to now Donald Trump has not paid a penalty for not giving access? 

BOEHLERT: Look, I think Republicans, particularly Republican men, have always gotten away with bullying the press. Hillary Clinton got in trouble a summer ago because she roped people off in a parade. He's got press pens, he insults the press over and over and it finally looks like yesterday there might be some payback. 


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