“You want me to indict and damn Hillary Clinton and I’m not going to do it.”
This was an exasperated NYT reporter Jeremy Peters on the set of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday as Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski tried to chip away at him and push him to personally declare that Clinton did something horribly wrong.
The topic was Clinton’s infamous email server, which, in recent weeks, has absolutely outraged Brzezinski.
Peters returned again and again to how the scandal is affecting her electability. He even tried to cozy up to Donny Deutsch who was also interested in the “branding” issue.
But personally condemn her? No, the reporter wouldn’t do it.
The hosts also tried to insist that WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson soil Clinton. He, too, wasn’t playing ball.
This is when the hosts ridiculed the NYT and WaPo.
Has Mika become Joe’s GOP robot?
Here’s the thing. Reporters aren’t supposed to spout opinions about the law or if they are personally outraged by a presidential candidate’s behavior. If you want that, you get pundits, loudmouths and the like.
Robinson, a columnist, could have expressed an opinion — he didn’t. He tried to appease Mika with basic facts, explaining twice that having an email server was originally acceptable when Clinton implemented it. But after 2009 when the laws changed, it was not. That’s as far as he would go no matter how much Mika pushed.
Robinson: “I believe she says that it was permissible essential at the moment she set up the server, however those 2009 regulations came out.”
Mika then — what — played dumb? “What do you mean by that?” she asked. “I have no idea what you mean. …So you are saying Hillary Clinton’s staff is not telling the truth.”
Robinson: “I am saying Hillary Clinton’s staff is arguing that that the time she made the decision to use the private email server it was not prohibited. However, the rules did come out shortly thereafter that said you can’t do that.”
Peters then pulled the pin out of the hand grenade. “Permissible is one thing, proper and in good judgement is another and that’s what we’re talking about,” said Peters.
“This is beyond proper,” Joe interrupted him. “This isn’t just this is proper or this is not political. …It was wrong and you have a federal judge continuing this saying the FBI needs to dig deeper.
Mika then cried media bias: “I’m just trying to find out if members of the media are Hillary people.”
Peters replied, “I don’t think she would say that.”
She persisted: “Is it or is it not permissible? I just want the answer. I don’t want like lots of sentences around it. I just want the answer.”
This is when Robinson pointlessly and annoyingly explained what he already had — that the server was permissible before 2009 and not after. Blah blah blah….a total waste of breath.
Peters wasn’t Mika’s puppet: “I don’t have an answer for you. …I’m not arguing whether or not it was permissible or not impermissible.”
Joe asked, “It’s like it would hurt you to say that yes a federal judge who works day in and day out …says that she impermissibly used email. …Can you not just say?”
Joe wondered why a reporter from the New York Times couldn’t just say it.
“DON’T CHALLENGE THE NEW YORK TIMES! DON’T CHALLENGE THE WASHINGTON POST!” wailed Deutsch.
Peters snapped back at all of them: “You want me to indict and damn Hillary Clinton and I’m not going to do that.”
No, Mika was not pleased. Neither was Joe.
And they won’t be until the Jeremy Peters’, Eugene Robinsons’ and Sam Steins’ of the world condemn Clinton as a liar who broke the law and who should pay for it.