MSNBC's Ari Melber Urges Journalists Not To Fall Into The “Trap” Of A “Precooked Narrative” On FBI Director's Announcement About The Clinton Emails

Melber: “If Politicians Are Trying To Fit This Letter Into Some Precooked Narrative We Should All As Voters, As Journalists Be Very Careful About Not Falling Into That Trap.” 

From the October 28 edition of MSNBC Live

Video file

ARI MELBER: This is a fairly unusual letter from the FBI Director saying there is additional evidence in an otherwise closed criminal inquiry that they are going to review, as they should if they discover any evidence that could be pertinent. The thing about evidence you don't know how pertinent or significant it is until you review it. Because of the scrutiny on this case obviously involving a major party nominee, the FBI has done something that would be secondarily unusual, which is tell a congressional committee about it. The FBI does not usually update congressional committees on most cases and the Congress doesn't usually ask about most cases. That's what it is --  an update saying they will look at the e-mail. The letter doesn't say much. It is a careful, tight, lawyerly letter. It does tell us that these emails were discovered “in an unrelated case.: So the FBI is saying that they have email now, they don't say who from, that could be relevant that they got through another case. The timing which will be of great interest to everyone who cares about the election on either side, but the timing according to the FBI is not on the political calendar. It's on a case calendar. And so they found this from another case and are, according to FBI Director Comey, doing what they should do which is not pay attention to the political calendar but simply tell Congress as they found it because there was oversight because he testified, here's an update. Now having said the law, the politics are people are gonna go ”What do you mean the calendar doesn't matter." We are 11 days out from a campaign. Both sides could have strong feelings about this as we've been seeing in the reaction. 

HALLIE JACKSON (HOST): Some of the reaction came from Congressman Steve King who referenced the Wikileaks release of the stolen emails. But we don't know right what the emails at the FBI has been finding or where they are from. I mean talk about the sourcing there, is it too soon to talk about that link?

MELBER: It's not too soon to explore the sourcing. But let's explore what we don't know. We don't know what the other case is. What kind of case it is. Whether it is a criminal case or not. Because the FBI looks at all sorts of material and all sorts of cases. All we know is that it's an FBI case. Could it potentially involve hacks or other emails that have come to light? In theory. Could it not? Also yes in theory. So if politicians or other people are coming out and want to fit this letter into some precooked narrative we should all as voters, as journalists be very careful about not falling into that trap. All we know is that this evidence was discovered. There may be some people who, looking at an inquiry about emails think well these must be quote unquote Hillary Clinton's emails. That would also be a supposition. All the letter says is that there are e-mails that they consider evidence worth reviewing. And if you look at in the law we call the counterfactual -- what wouldn't you do? What would the opposite thing to do? It would not be good, Hallie, if the FBI did the opposite thing which is find new evidence and not look at it. Right? So from their perspective, even though I work in a newsroom and I used to work in politics and this is a political bomb shell. No two ways about it. And it will be reacted to as such. But the FBI, if you believe them and Director Comey who served as a Republican for many years, if you believe them, the FBI is saying this is ordinary. When we find new material we don't close our eyes to it we look at it. We get that there's an explosive amount of information out there. But for them to either not look at it or wait, that would be the alternative.

JACKSON: Right, sat on it for 12 days. 

MELBER: Forget looks. That wouldn't be legally proper. So they're doing what they say is the ordinary course. This is a review of additional information. It may or may not matter. But investigators have to look at all the information.


Right-Wing Media Fail Occam’s Razor Test In Continued Push To Scandalize McAuliffe PAC Donation

Watch A Congresswoman Dismantle Right-Wing Media's New Favorite Clinton Pseudo-Scandal

How The Media's Obsession With “Optics” Is Ruining Campaign Journalism