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The Press In Hillary’s Purse

Hillary Clinton and her press advisor Philippe Reines (US State Department/Flickr)

This is pretty amazing stuff from Gawker: a glimpse into how Hillary Clinton gets the press she wants. A FOIA request turned up some e-mail exchanges from 2009 between Philippe Reines, Hillary’s press secretary, and then-Atlantic editor Marc Ambinder. Ambinder had asked Reines for an advance copy of a speech the then-Secretary of State was about to give at the Council on Foreign Relations. Reines responded:

From: [Philippe Reines]
Sent: Wednesday, July 15 2009 10:06 AM
To: Ambinder, Marc
Subject: Re: Do you have a copy of HRC’s speech to share?

3 [conditions] actually

1) You in your own voice describe them as “muscular”

2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from Holbrooke to Mitchell to Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something

3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!

As Gawker shows, Ambinder did exactly as he was told. More Gawker:

The same [FOIA] request previously revealed that Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Ambinder’s emails with Reines demonstrate the same kind of transactional reporting, albeit to a much more legible degree: In them, you can see Reines “blackmailing” Ambinder into describing a Clinton speech as “muscular” in exchange for early access to the transcript. In other words, Ambinder outsourced his editorial judgment about the speech to a member of Clinton’s own staff.

Read the whole thing. Ambinder is by no means alone. Sounds like P. Reines is very good at his job. Can’t imagine why people have so little trust in the Washington media…


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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