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January 21, 2008

The Hillary Papers Get Ignored By The Media

After last week's release by Judicial Watch of internal documents of Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force, many of us waited to see the national news media cover their disturbing contents. No surprisingly, none of them did so. Despite the proposals to use smears against critics of the government and to turn the DNC into a domestic espionage unit for the White House against its opponents, the mainstream news media has shown little interest in even noting the fact that this evidence appeared in a microscopic sample of the three million documents that have been blocked from public scrutiny.

Let's recall what the media has ignored. The following comes from my earlier posts on the subject.

Senator Jay Rockefeller proposed that the federal government conduct smear campaigns against the opponents of the plan:

A “Confidential” May 26, 1993 Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care Reform Communications,” which criticizes the Task Force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks’” that has engaged in “choking off information” from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton “use classic opposition research” to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” in order to deflect criticism.

Rockefeller had allies in mind for this effort:

Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”

Rockefeller also offers a little intellectually honest advice at least twice. When discussing abortion, he gets very terse (emphasis mine):

Response concepts: ... Full Reproductive Services. Do not engage on this topic.

And remember, this isn't a political action commitee or an electoral office campaign. This was the elected government of the United States discussing how it would steamroller opposition to nationalizing an entire industry by smearing them and by avoiding discussion of the policy itself.

The HCTF anticipated a tough debate over its proposal to nationalize American health care, and it proposed some specific remedies -- including using the DNC to conduct intelligence operations.

A February 1993 memo to Hillary Clinton from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux proposes that the HCTF -- a White House policy group -- enlist the DNC for several purposes, discussed on page 5:

C. The DNC Role

The DNC clearly has a critically important role to play in the campaign. I would suggest the following roles ...

3. The DNC can be instrumental for us in intelligence gathering and opposition research. Their staff will hear talk about things that may never reach us inside these walls.

All of that falls into the category of "politicizing" the White House, and much more than having Karl Rove as deputy chief of staff. But this goes beyond mere politicization. The HCTF foresaw using the DNC to "gather intelligence" on political opposition -- a way to gain information to intimidate or extort their critics. It's bad enough when electoral campaigns do this, but having the White House use the DNC for these purposes doesn't border on abuse of power but invades it with a vengeance.

And this memo came to Hillary Clinton a mere two weeks after her husband's inauguration. The impetus for this kind of political warfare existed within the Clinton administration within the first hours of its birth.

Where are the media organizations that style themselves as the bulwark against governmental abuses of power? Why haven't they reported on these memos, which clearly delineate a type of attack on government opposition that hasn't been this baldly proposed since the Nixon administration? Given Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency -- one on which she relies on her experience in her husband's administration for her qualifications -- isn't all of this terribly relevant to the question of how she will run the White House, and what kind of treatment her critics can expect to receive?

The silence from the Fourth Estate is deafening. It screams either cowardice or collaboration.


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» The “Hillary Papers” from Sister Toldjah
Last week, Judicial Watch released internal documents related to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Task Force. The media, of course, has been virtually silent on them, but Captain Ed has taken a look and found some disturbing things... [Read More]

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