A member of Hillary Clinton’s staff “blackmailed” the press by promising perks in exchange for flattering press coverage. According to the New York Post, it was a “high-powered press operation” designed to make Hillary Clinton look good.
Gawker used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain an exchange of emails between Clinton spokesman, Philippe Reines, and a writer with The Atlantaic magazine, Marc Ambinder.
According to the report, Ambinder asked Reines on July 15, 2009 for a copy of the speech in advance that Clinton was to deliver at the Council on Foreign Relations. Reines replied that he was willing to do that, but that certain conditions must be met. Ambinder complied and Reines listed his conditions.
The Hillary Clinton staff member listed the conditions for providing the speech:
“1) You in your own voice describe them [Clinton’s remarks] 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 [is] certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something 3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!”
Ambinder did his part in writing the story that Reines wanted after receiving the speech to report on.
Ambinder told Gawker he regrets his role in the blackmail plot.
Additional emails show that Reines gave former ABC News reporter, Dana Hughes, a video revealing that a reported bee attack on Clinton in Malawi was false.
“One more thing since I’m giving you this gift . . . add a line taking a small poke at ‘BuzzFeed and others’ for getting this wrong,” Reines wrote.
“I don’t have a problem with that at all,” Hughes responded.
It’s hard to know how many other times Hillary Clinton’s staff has had a hand in trying to control the press. We hear about politicians using the press to their advantage and in some way wield a lot of power in terms of how they’re reported. Favors and deals are suspected to be at play often in the political world.