From the September 4 edition of MSNBC's AM Joy:
JOY REID (HOST): So after that 24 hour Trump-related debacle, the very next morning, the big headline on Politico was this: “Bill Clinton used tax dollars to subsidize foundation, private email server.” The headline resurrected the specter of Hillary Clonton's emails with the suggestion that Bill Clinton used federal money set aside for former presidents to subsidize Clinton Foundation workers and email servers, including work performed on Hillary Clinton's private server. But, dig a little deeper into the story, and it turns out even after reviewing thousands of pages of records, Politico's
investigation does not reveal anything illegal. And after the Clinton campaign responded by pointing out that Clinton's email servers were, in fact, paid for with her own money and the servers in question housed former president speeches, not his wife’semails, Politico switched to a new headline, saying the tax dollars went not to her private email server, but to private email support.
But the media search for scandal in Clintons emails continued on Thursday when The New York Times announced “Emails Raise New Questions About Clinton Foundation Ties to State Dept.” Those new questions involved a long time adviser to Bill Clinton, Doug Band, who attempted to obtain a special diplomatic passport related to Clinton's 2009 mission to free two American journalists detained in North Korea. Except there was no there there either, because the answer to those questions about whether the Clinton Foundation received special access from Hillary Clinton's State Department was a resounding no. As theTimes reports in the story, the State Department never issued the passport to the foundation official who made the request. So why is the media looking for a Clinton scandal when there's none to find and trying so hard to see a Trump pivot when he shows no signs of ever pivoting?
Hillary Clinton's emails have been the gift that keeps on giving for a media trying to strike a balance against the weekly controversies that plague Donald Trump's campaign. But as Media Matters illustrates in a compilation of Clinton coverage, the standards for what qualifies as a Hillary Clinton scandal aren't about smoking guns, they're about a magical thing called “optics.”