Very lawyerly, not contrite. Also, too defensive: Can you remember all the way back to the Commander-in-Chief forum? Before the basket of deplorables? Before pneumonia hit?
We can almost remember that far. Today, we wanted to finish our critique of that unfortunate evening.
In our view, it was pretty silly for Matt Lauer to burn all that time on the email matter. His questions had been asked and answered about a million times.
That said, Candidate Clinton actually dispensed some information when she answered the audience question about the email matter. We thought that question was harshly accusatory and should have been edited by NBC News, if there still is such a thing. That said, we will guess that many viewers had never heard key parts of this:
CLINTON (9/7/16): Well, I appreciate your concern and also your experience. But let me try to make the distinctions that I think are important for me to answer your question.Poor Matt was trying to make her stop talking. He'd already wasted tons of time, and he had many more questions! That said, we will guess that many people had never heard a word about this:
First, as I said to Matt, you know and I know classified material is designated. It is marked. There is a header so that there is no dispute at all that what is being communicated to or from someone who has that access is marked classified.
And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement, top secret, secret, or confidential.
I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously. When I traveled, I went into one of those little tents that I’m sure you’ve seen around the world because we didn’t want there to be any potential for someone to have embedded a camera to try to see whatever it is that I was seeing that was designated, marked, and headed as classified.
LAUER: Let us—
CLINTON: So I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously, always have, always will.
"I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system."
Say what? She "communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system?" Given the way our press corps works, we will guess that many people had never heard a word about that. We'll guess that those people would have been surprised, perhaps even edified, if they had been exposed to more information along these lines.
That said, our press corps loathes information. They prefer speculation and pointless prediction, accompanied by reversion to official approved story-lines.
Information makes their skin crawl. We thought this was clear on CNN immediately after the forum.
As usual, Anderson Cooper was pretending to conduct a discussion. He played tape of that full statement by Clinton, then asked the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson to comment.
Henderson seems to be very bright; she's conventionally attractive, and pleasant. Presumably for these reasons, she's getting quite big on "cable news." But good grief! Ow ow ow! Here's what she said after Cooper played the tape of that statement by Clinton:
COOPER (9/7/16): (END VIDEO CLIP)Good God! When we watched that statement by Clinton, we were struck by the information it contained.
Nia, obviously, it's tough questions for—
COOPER: —for Secretary Clinton tonight, and obviously an issue which is not going away.
HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, in some ways, this audience, it's an away game for Hillary. These are veterans. She's likely not going to win those folks in 2012. Mitt Romney won them by about 20 points in 2008. John McCain won them by about 10 points.
You know, I think, in that answer, she's sounded very lawyerly. I think, I mentioned that her people are going to back and look at that and figure out a better answer where she sounds less lawyerly. Maybe even a little more contrite.
So yeah, I mean, I think this was a preview of what we're going to see in these debates. A preview of what we've seen all along, which is the e-mail issue is not going away.
She doesn't quite have a good answer. She always sounds defensive, I think, when she's answering these questions about her e-mail, and it's just going to continue, I think.
That said, Henderson has become a cable news pundit. As such, she has been trained to let us know how such statements "sound."
Never mind what Clinton said! Henderson set out to explain how her statement sounded. It sounded lawyerly, needless to say. Also, it sounded defensive.
Also, it didn't sound or possible seem sufficiently contrite! (Could that be because Clinton said, "I did exactly what I should have done?" We're not sure. We're just asking!)
Earth to Cooper and his ship of stooges: Clinton didn't sound contrite about this part of the topic at all! She said she did exactly what she should have done. She even included some information about the apparently careful way classified material was typically handled, both at home and abroad.
It never entered Cooper's slow mind to ask why Clinton would say such a thing. In turn, Henderson made no attempt to explain any of the factual matters Clinton had mentioned.
She made no attempt to fill in the informational blanks about that "wholly separate" email system. Using the omniscience granted her by CNN, she simply told the world how Clinton's statement "sounded."
Henderson seems to be very bright and pleasant. But she's picked up a bug from the guild she has joined. Her reaction tended toward our diagnosis:
Not recognizably human!