The release of Hillary Clinton's emails while she was Secretary of State along with those of her inner circle have taught us a few things.
Case in point is CNN reporter Elise Labott who was first suspended for a biased tweet that betrayed a little bit of her political worldview.
— Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn) November 19, 2015
If that sounds a lot like President Obama's talking points, you're right. While she was serving her suspension (probably unpaid, since she's not a public employee) a batch of State Department emails came out that show Labott conversing with Hillary confidante Philippe Reines.
The tweet Reines suggested appears to be this one:
Clinton: I tried to be transparent. I could have joined the 18 ARBs, kept it classified and then said goodbye. That is not who I am. — Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn) January 23, 2013
You can find more instances of Labott's efforts to comfort the comfortable here.
Labott does have her defenders. Politico hack Glenn Thrush is one of them.
People hate media and will assume the worst. Most of this stuff is just everyday tradecraft -- same BS as any job https://t.co/5KITk0c7zt
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) November 25, 2015
If you'd have a hard time imagining any reporter having, or excusing as "tradecraft," a similar relationship with, say Scooter Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, then you're not completely insane.
Is Labott an unbiased reporter or is she a stenographer, or, even worse, a publicist? Is there anyway you could tell by her work?
And she's not the only one.
An email from Politco's chief political correspondent, Mike Allen, also disclosed as part of the Clinton document dump, shows that he too was willing to act as a publicist for access to Chelsea Clinton.
This would be a way to send a message during inaugural week: No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance. This would be a relaxed conversation, and our innovative format (like a speedy Playbook Breakfast) always gets heavy social-media pickup. The interview would be “no-surprises”: I would work with you on topics, and would start with anything she wants to cover or make news on. Quicker than a network hit, and reaching an audience you care about with no risk.
Allen now says that this was a mistake and it never really would've happened because his journalistic ethics would've kicked in eventually. Trust him.
I don't trust him. There isn't a single national political reporter that anyone should trust by default. Trust needs to be earned.
The majority of unbiased reporters aren't.
Journalism. Wound. Self-inflicted.