If you look hard enough, you find there’s usually a reason for everything — even at The New York Times.
But whatever the reason — maybe it was the story about a parasite jeopardizing fly fishing in Montana, or those Russian hackers who attacked the Gray Lady’s Moscow bureau — the latest Clinton Foundation bombshell couldn’t be found among “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”
The Associated Press scoop Tuesday found that at least 85 of 154 people who got an audience with Hillary Clinton while she led the State Department had donated to her family charity. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $ 156 million and included private citizens with business before the government. It’s as close to a “pay to play” smoking gun as has emerged to date.
“The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009,” the AP wrote. “But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton.”
Yet, the investigative report appeared nowhere in Wednesday’s 46-page print edition. Coming weeks after a front-page story basically saying journalists feel free to be subjective in the current race because Trump is such a threat to the Republic, critics of the “paper of record” say it smells like fish wrap.
Despite the paper’s famed “Fit to Print” motto, “The truth is that only news that fits the party line gets printed,” said Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor who worked at the Times for 10 years.
It is unlikely publication of the story was affected by a Tuesday hack the U.S. officials believe was launched by groups working for the Russian government. While other media outlets speculated that the newspaper cyberattack could be new evidence of a dastardly alliance between Trump and Moscow, The Times reported “there is no evidence that the hackers, believed to be Russian, were successful.”
It’s possible the Times, which like most news outlets subscribes to The Associated Press and freely publishes its content, preferred to ignore the explosive report while it trained its own crack investigative team on the story. If so, readers may soon see an exhaustive report building on the solid work of the AP.
But surely there was room, even for a truncated version, somewhere on page A-13, amid the “Election 2016” coverage. The page was led by a story declaring polls point toward a Clinton landslide, even though recent surveys show the race has tightened to a dead heat.
And, there was room for a lengthy story at the bottom of the page featuring Cher at a Massachusetts fund-raiser calling Trump a “racist” and “idiot,” whom she likened to Adolf Hitler. Times scribe Jonathan Martin pronounced the ’70s icon’s description a “succinct and salty assessment.” Martin noted four times that the adoring crowd registered its approval, twice with “roars.”
The story about a parasite prompting Montana wildlife officials to close a section of the Yellowstone River to fly fishing appeared on A-11.