Wikileaks emails continue to show some very ugly sides of campaigning. Among those who look bad: much of the media who appear to be colluding with the campaigns.
Today, we look at whether or not a CNN contributor, who is now the head of the Democratic National Committee, secretly forwarded a town hall question to Hillary Clinton’s campaign before the town hall.
So far Donna Brazile has insisted that she absolutely did not, but now, new evidence shows that she did.
Let’s give it a Reality Check.
This story has come to light thanks to the Wikileaks email hack on Clinton campaign director John Podesta. The email in question was written by Donna Brazile, who at the time was the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee as well as a contributor to ABC News and CNN.
The email subject line reads: “From time to time I get questions in advance.”
The body of the email goes on to say this:
19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty?
Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for the Clinton campaign, wrote back to Brazile within three hours, saying, “Hi. Yes, it is one she gets asked about. Not everyone likes her answer but can share it.”
The following day, at a CNN town hall between Clinton and Bernie Sanders, that question came up.
So how did Donna Brazile, who wasn’t even a moderator at that debate, get a hold of the question and send the exact wording for that question? Brazile says she didn’t.
“As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did,” said Brazile.
But the plot thickens because the question was referenced by Roland Martin with TV One. He said that no one, not even his producers, knew what that question would be before it was asked at the town hall.
But now, Politico has accessed an email that shows that is not true.
Roland Martin was co-hosting that CNN town hall debate with Jake Tapper. Martin sent an email to CNN producers with three questions, the third of which dealt with the death penalty.
Politico obtained that email and surprise, the text of the third question:
19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty? – Roland Martin email to CNN on March 13, 2016
The text is identical in wording, spacing and capitalization. It is identical. But Martin’s email was sent one day after Brazile’s was sent to the Clinton campaign.
What you need to know is that for their part, CNN is now pointing the finger at TV One and at Roland Martin, saying that Brazile sent the email to the Clinton camp a day before Martin forwarded his question to CNN.
Either way, the real story here is that Donna Brazile took over the DNC for Debbie Wasserman Schultz when leaked emails showed the DNC had been working to help the Clinton campaign beat Bernie Sanders.
Brazile has insisted that she has never shown favoritism, but this email destroys that idea because it’s not true.
For Brazile to share a question with a campaign breaches every journalistic rule there is. It also destroys the claims that she was a neutral party.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that on Twitter.