A Gawker reporter pawed through some of Hillary’s emails (released via a Gawker Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2012) and discovered some messages between Clinton consigliere Philippe Reines and Ambinder regarding an important policy speech in 2009.
In these emails, we get a glimpse of the sort of “quid pro quo” between powerful Democrats and their toadies in the media, that goes on probably a lot more frequently than we would like to admit.
In exchange for early access to a policy speech that Hillary gave, Ambinder was asked to describe said speech as “muscular” in his write-up and also mention the heavy-hitters sitting in the front row of the audience.
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!
One minute later, Ambinder responded:
From: Ambinder, Marc
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:07 AM
To: Philippe Reines
Subject: RE: Do you have a copy of HRC’s speech to share?
Ambinder made good on his word. The opening paragraph of the article he wrote later that day, under the headline “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Smart Power’ Breaks Through,” precisely followed Reines’ instructions:
When you think of President Obama’s foreign policy, think of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That’s the message behind a muscular speech that Clinton is set to deliver today to the Council on Foreign Relations. The staging gives a clue to its purpose: seated in front of Clinton, subordinate to Clinton, in the first row, will be three potentially rival power centers: envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, and National Security Council senior director Dennis Ross.
And that’s how it works, folks.