SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2022
Where does knowledge come from? This morning, we spent the 7 o'clock hour watching the heartbreaking C-Span program, Washington Journal.
This morning, viewers were asked whether they believe that current extreme weather is linked to climate change. Last Sunday, viewers were asked to say which party they trust to handle crime.
Each day, hearts were broken by various viewer responses. Washington Journal can be highly instructive, though in a heartbreaking way.
We still haven't shown you the full text of last Sunday's first phone call, nor will we do so now. That said, the caller alleged that "a "clear double standard" exists in the way Donald J. Trump is being treated with respect to the recent search for classified material.
The caller listed many areas where major Democrats have been let off easy, with Trump instead being subjected to "Gestapo tactics." At one point, he mentioned those famous old Hillary Clinton emails, just as Trump himself had been doing in the days since the Mar-a-Lago search:
JOHN FROM NEW YORK (8/14/22): I'm not trying to make excuses for President Trump, but it seems that there's a clear double standard. A clear double standard with Hillary Clinton—30,000 emails that she had acid washed...
As part of a lengthy presentation, the caller referred to those famous old "30,000 emails," just as Trump was now doing.
The caller seemed to think that there had been a serious problem with a very large cache of emails. Presumably, he'd heard Trump (and others) repeating that number. He now repeated it too.
In yesterday's report, we showed you what Fred Kaplan had written about those emails just two days earlier. Kaplan, a veteran journalist, had briefly reprised his earlier work on this topic in this new report for Slate:
KAPLAN (8/12/22): While we’re on the subject, what about Hillary’s email? Of the 30,000 emails that the FBI examined, eight were found to contain Top Secret information. Seven of them were about CIA drone strikes, which had been reported in the newspapers (but were still technically classified). The other one was an account of a telephone conversation with the president of Malawi. (All conversations with foreign leaders are, by definition, Top Secret.) In other words, she revealed nothing remotely about nuclear weapons, signals intelligence, or anything that might have enlightened a foreign spy.
According to Kaplan, here's the way it broke down:
Of the famous 30,000 emails, only eight (8) dealt with information classified as Top Secret. Also according to Kaplan, those eight emails dealt with material which was technically classified that way, but pretty much shouldn't have been.
Fo ahead—pick a number! The caller was concerned about 30,000 emails. Essentially, Kaplan said it boiled down to only eight—and he said that those eight emails dealt with utterly fatuous stuff.
The caller thought 30,000 emails were in question; Kaplan said it was basically eight. This is the way our broken discourse works when we're living in two different worlds—when viewers of our two warring tribes get their information from segregated news sources.
30,000 emails or eight! The lady or the tiger?
Having said this, a question arises. Should we assume that Kaplan's presentation is right?
In his original report for Slate, Kaplan says that the vast majority of those 30,000 emails didn't involve any kind of problem. But should we assume that's correct?
As we noted yesterday, Kaplan's basic number came Straight Outta Jim Comey. In his ill-advised presentation on July 5, 2016, Comey himself said that only eight of Clinton's "email chains" concerned material classified as Top Secret.
We're going to guess that John from New York has never heard any such fact. (In fairness, neither has pretty much anyone else, given the way our discourse works.)
That said, of the famous Thirty Thousand, only eight emails (or email chains) concerned Top Secret material. There seems to be no reason to question that part of Kaplan's presentation.
But how about Kaplan's statements concerning the contents of those emails? Kaplan never provided a source that for those descriptions. Is there any reason why we should believe that his descriptions were, and still are, accurate?
We don't know why Kaplan didn't describe his source, or why Slate didn't require him to do so. His sourcing remains a mystery to this day, at least to us.
Where did Kaplan get his account of those emails? Perhaps the sourcing has been disclosed somewhere, but it's still unknown to us.
For that reason, we don't know if Kaplan's description of those (8) emails is correct. That said, you can see the basic lay of the land through this dispute, as we Americans continue to live within our Two Different Worlds:
John from New York, and many others, believe that there were major problems with 30,000 emails. But even by Comey's taxonomy, only eight (8) of the email chains contained material marked Top Secret.
Was it 30,000 emails, or was it only eight? This is the way our broken discourse works, now that we live in a brainless environment in which wholly segregated "news orgs" produce segregated tribal "news" on a round-the-clock basis.
John from New York believes what he's heard—and he's never heard anything different. For many of us in our blue tribal lands, we're sometimes saddled with the same problem concerning other matters.
We live in our red and blue tribal lands, and rarely the twain shall meet.
Allegedly, it's never too late: What was the source of Kaplan's account? As far as we know, he has never cited his source.
Why not do so now? According to major credentialed experts, it's allegedly never too late!