Damage control 101 dictates that one gets out in front of an issue in a complete, open and forthright manner. In terms of the eMail scandal, Hillary Clinton was unable to do that due to a multitude of factors:
#1 Hillary Clinton is, by nature, an elitist who, by definition, does not feel the need to make herself accountable to people whom she considers to be beneath herself:
Here is a personality profile of her that bears this out:
The Political Personality of 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton by Aubrey Immelman, St. John's University / College of St. Benedict
Clinton’s personality composite can be labeled elitist narcissism, or, in political terms, as the profile of a deliberative high-dominance introvert — deliberative by virtue of her substantial conscientiousness.
#2 Hillary thought she controlled the message.
As we will see below, the Hillary campaign thought they controlled the truth but did not. Not only did they have an almost limited amount of funds to project their message but the campaign was also going to skirt the rules and collaborate with her biggest PAC on messaging.
For the most part, the media was also in the tank for Hillary. She was an elitist would not rock their very comfortable boat. While they would ask her the tough questions, the would not press her on them. This is born out by major outlets eventually jumping on the "Times to Move On" boat too when it looked like the eMail scandal was tipping things in favor of Trump as shown later in this post.
#3 The truth was so damaging that her campaign did not have the option of being forthright.
One only has to skim the Wikileaks releases to understand just how devastating the eMails were to the whole Clinton family and Democrats in general.
Image Equals Message
While Hillary had crafted a message in response to the eMail allegations, the negative image she projected ultimately undid her campaign:
Mercury Elections 4/08/2016 - Poll: 55% hold negative opinion of Hillary Clinton
Clinton is not held in very high regard among the general public. Most Americans view her as not particularly compassionate, honest or likable. They have mixed feelings on her civility, decisiveness and competence.
Half of all Americans say Clinton is “not at all” honest, with another 18 percent saying she’s slightly honest.
More than half say Clinton is not especially compassionate, and six in 10 say she’s only slightly or not at all likable. Eighty percent do not find Trump compassionate and three-quarters do not see him as likable.Daily Caller 2015/07/22 - Chuck Todd: The More Voters See Of Hillary The Less They Like Her
Even worse for Hillary, the more voters saw of her the less the liked her:
Even worse for Hillary, the more voters saw of her the less the liked her:
Death of a Candidate
On September 27th, 2015, Hillary Clinton had a disastrous interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.:
She should be the textbook definition of a LIAR! - YouTube Comment on the Below Video
Here is a link to the transcript: Meet the Press Transcript - September 27, 2015
JohnQuincy is not sure about the exact date of this interview, the Washington Free Beacon Posted it on September 28th 2015 and it does appear to be a damage control exercise following Clinton's Meet the Press damage control failure, it did not fair any better:
Lying liars, lying about the lies they've lied about. - YouTube Comment on Below Video
Campaign Coordination with Super PAC - Time to Move On
In concert with the big news shows, Clinton's Super PAC, Correct the Record, with dubious legality, coordinated, with the Hillary campaign to put out the message that Hillary had resolved the issue and it was "time to move on."
|Time to Move On|
The Washington Free Beacon offer a good synopsis of this incident:
Freebeacon.com September 28, 2015 - After Tweeting It’s ‘Time to Move on’ from Clinton Emails, Finney Struggles to Answer Questions About Clinton Emails
The UK Daily Mail points out that this likely coordinated response from the campaign related PACs is legally questionable:
www.dailymail.co.uk - Talking Point? Hillary Clinton's supporters all tweet the same thing: 'Time to move on' after she's grilled about email scandal on Meet the Press
Five of Hillary Clinton's surrogates wrote almost identical tweets after she appeared on Meet the Press Sunday
The coordination raised eyebrows as both a campaign spokesperson and the president of a pro-Clinton Super PAC said the same thing
The Super PAC is coordinating with the campaign and testing federal election laws
Clinton's allies are trying to push the press off the ongoing email scandal
The Daily Mail Links to an earlier Washington Post article on a plan for the Hillary Campaign to coordinate with super PACS:
www.washingtonpost.com 2015/05/12 - How a super PAC plans to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign
The Washington Post interviews the Clinton Campaign and the Super PAC, Correct the Record, whom the campaign plans to coordinate and these parties justify the legality by citing the legality of coordination with unpaid blogging activity: The Washington Post then cites Jason Torchinsky, an election law attorney who represents many conservative groups.
"If you are a super PAC paying people and coordinating your activities with the campaign, you are not covered by the individual Internet exemption and are making impermissible in-kind contributions."
Curiously, Correct the Record then responds after the article that they are not relying on the exemption they stated but on a different one:
[Update: Correct the Record officials say they are not relying on the individual Internet exemption, but rather a related exemption in the definition of coordinated communications.]
The Washington Post Article, in turn, references an earlier NYT article on the planned Clinton Campaign collusion with the Correct the Record PAC:
www.nytimes.com 2015/05/12 - FIRST DRAFT Hillary Clinton Aligned Group Gets Closer to Her Campaign
In the article Correct the Record claims that it can coordinate with the campaign as it is not involved in independent expenditures.
Skipping to the present, in October 2016, the Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint with the FEC regarding the questionable legality of this coordination that is still awaiting an outcome:
Lawnewz.com - FEC Complaint Accuses Clinton Campaign of Illegally Coordinating With David Brock Super PAC
Coordinated Democrat Response - Time to Move On
Predictably, major Democrat politicians also plugged the "Time to Move On" theme in lockstep:
The Hill 07/06/16 - Reid: ‘Time to move on' from Clinton email scandal
"It's over. It's time to move on," -Harry Reid
www.realclearpolitics.com 2016/09/08 - Nancy Pelosi: Time To Move On From Hillary Clinton's Emails; "Too Much Ado About It"
"What she did was not something that endangered our national security. She said she shouldn't have done it that way -- that raises questions, which is unfortunate. But as I have said, it is much ado about something, but too much ado about it."
"Hillary Clinton is in no way... We have to move on from this,"
www.washingtonexaminer.com 8/14/2016 - Panetta: It's time to 'move on' from Clinton emails
Coordinated Media Response - Time to Move On
After the disastrous Clinton Response to Matt Lauer during the Candidate Forums in September 2016, the media began jumping to Clinton's defense but minimizing the issue and suggesting it was time to move on to more important questions:
Lie after lie with a straight face. -YouTube top comment on the below video
www.washingtonexaminer.com - Newsrooms revive the call: It's time to move on from Clinton's email scandal
www.washingtonpost.com - The Post's View The Hillary Clinton email story is out of control
"There are a thousand other substantive issues … that would have revealed more about what the candidates know and how they would govern,"
"Judging the amount of time [he] spent pressing Hillary Clinton on her emails," ... "one would think that her homebrew server was one of the most important issues facing the country this election. It is not."
www.nytimes.com 2016/09/09 - A Debate Disaster Waiting to Happen
"Mr. Lauer seemed most energized interrogating Mrs. Clinton about her use of a personal email server while secretary of state," the Times' board wrote. "Focusing on it meant that other critical issues — like America's role in Afghanistan and its ties with China — went unaddressed."
Damage Control 101 - Failure
Ultimately, even the true believers in the media could see that Hillary's image was irreparably damaged:
msnbc.com 9/9/15 - hillary-clinton-fails-damage-control-101
Going into this scandal, the Clinton campaign had three options: deny it, ignore it, or tell her side of it. And she’s done all three – horribly. From the quintessential Clintonian dismissal of such matters (“It’s not about Benghazi. It’s not about emails or a server either. It’s about politics.”) to her painful tone deafness regarding the potentially lethal impact on her campaign (“You may have seen that I have recently launched a Snapchat account … I love it — those messages disappear all by themselves.”), to her contrite recognition that perhaps the public was taking this more seriously than she was (“I should have used two emails – one personal, one for work – and I take responsibility for that decision.”), Clinton’s message has been anything but clarifying.