The media recently has been rushing to admit that the Hunter Biden laptop story is legitimate before any indictment comes down in Delaware. With that amazing flip (after almost two years), some are admitting like Washington Post there is a “reckoning” for the media in the burying of the story before Biden’s election. That moment of reflection, however, has not stopped media from continuing to bury other stories. That was evident this Sunday on NBC when some of us noted that Chuck Todd interviewed Hillary Clinton but decided not to ask her about the Federal Election Commission (FEC) recently fining her campaign for concealing the funding of the Steele Dossier. Todd did not consider that relevant when asking Clinton about how the Democrats should approach the next election. Instead, Clinton was able to explain how Democrats “have a great story to tell” without telling the story of the last election (including the recent FEC fine).
We have previously discussed allegations that Marc Elias, the former general counsel for the Clinton Campaign and partner at the firm Perkins Coie, lied to conceal the campaign’s funding of the infamous Steele Dossier. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) recently fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for violating election rules in hiding that funding as legal costs.
The problem for Todd is that he and NBC relentlessly pushed the dossier and the Russian collusion claims that were later debunked. It is still clearly too early for a “reckoning” on the media’s role in pushing the dossier. It does not even matter that Clinton and her campaign have been accused of misleading or lying to the few journalists who had the integrity to ask about their role in the scandal.
It was Elias who made the key funding available to Fusion GPS, which in turn enlisted Steele to produce his now discredited dossier on Trump and his campaign.
During the campaign, a few reporters did ask about the possible connection to the campaign, but Clinton campaign officials denied any involvement. It was only weeks after the election that journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the Steele dossier as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to Perkins Coie.
New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Elias denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”
“It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.”
Now the campaign has been officially fined for hiding the funding, but it was crickets on NBC. It was reminiscent of Elias appearing on CNN with its media correspondent Brian Stelter, who also did not think it was relevant to ask Elias why leading journalists accuse him and the campaign of lying to them about their funding of the dossier. Instead, Stelter asked Elias “what should we be doing differently?”
Elias proceeded to chastise the media for not having enough of a “pro-democracy slant.” Just for the record, Elias has previously been sanctioned for his conduct in litigation, has unsuccessfully challenged Republican victories in elections, and recently lost an effort to gerrymander the Maryland voting districts. In the recent Maryland decision, the map pushed by Elias was found to violate the state constitution’s equal protection, free speech and free elections clauses but “subverts the will of those governed.”
In the Todd interview, Clinton states “I’m not quite sure what the disconnect is” between President Biden’s accomplishments and his polling numbers. The same can be said about the interview itself. For many of us we are “not quite sure what the disconnect is” between an interview on how Clinton would handle the next election and how her campaign was just fined for her handling of the last election. This was not some trivial record-keeping violation. This was the concealing of the role of the Clinton campaign in funding and pushing a major scandal — and allegedly lying about that role to reporters.
As NBC proclaims “This is who we are,” it may want to consider who that is in light of the Todd interview.