The chal­lenge of Wik­ileaks

In this dizzy­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion con­test, one of the fas­ci­nat­ing — and tan­ta­liz­ing — story lines has been the re­lease of thou­sands of e-mails hacked from Demo­cratic Party of­fi­cials and the cam­paign for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

It’s a re­mark­able mo­ment in our na­tion’s his­tory when top in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity of­fi­cials blame a for­eign su­per­power for in­ter­fer­ing with our pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Here in Colorado, re­cent Wik­iLeaks e-mail dumps hacked from Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta have raised ques­tions about whether Clin­ton cam­paign of­fi­cials en­joy out­sized in­flu­ence with the mem­bers of The Den­ver Post’s ed­i­to­rial board.

In a Fe­bru­ary e-mail con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Clin­ton cam­paign of­fi­cials, op­er­a­tives are seen dis­cussing the ex­treme anti-frack­ing stances of Sen. Bernie San­ders — Clin­ton’s pri­mary op­po­nent and a hugely pop­u­lar can­di­date among Colorado Democrats. The op­er­a­tives dis­cussed ask­ing U.S. Rep. Jared Po­lis, Con­ser­va­tion Colorado and oth­ers to hit back at a San­ders ad in Colorado.

Bradley Ko­mar, a key Colorado cam­paign of­fi­cial, wrote: “I think the Den­ver Post Ed Board could smack San­ders if we want them to but that makes it a big­ger fight.”

The mo­ment pro­vides a use­ful chance to peek be­hind the cur­tain, and a les­son on the value of leaks. Cam­paign of­fi­cials of all stripes cer­tainly do reach out to mem­bers of ed­i­to­rial boards, much as they do with news­room re­porters and ed­i­tors. We get pitched on ideas and meet with op­er­a­tives from all man­ner of cam­paigns on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Some­times we get leaked in­for­ma­tion from watch­dogs, whistle­blow­ers and op­po­si­tion re­searchers. It’s part of the job. In our world, more ideas are bet­ter than fewer. Some­times the pitches, if rooted in re­al­ity, lead to good sto­ries, col­umns and ed­i­to­ri­als. Of­ten they do not.

And Ko­mar’s logic makes some sense, given that we’ve long sup­ported frack­ing if it is con­ducted re­spon­si­bly. San­ders’ de­sire for a com­plete ban is not one we’ve sup­ported.

But we don’t co­or­di­nate with cam­paigns or other spe­cial in­ter­ests to ad­vance their causes or ar­gu­ments, as do­ing so hardly fits our goal of pro­vid­ing an ob­jec­tive voice of rea­son for our read­ers.

But how can you know? Per­haps Don­ald Trump is right that it’s all just a rigged game be­tween the me­dia and the Demo­cratic Party.

The best way to an­swer the ques­tion — as with any leaked in­for­ma­tion — is to do a lit­tle re­port­ing and see where the facts are.

We don’t re­call any­one from the Clin­ton cam­paign reach­ing out on the San­ders frack­ing ad around the time of Ko­mar’s e-mail.

We do re­call voic­ing our dis­plea­sure with both San­ders and Clin­ton for their an­swers to ques­tions about frack­ing in an early March de­bate. While Clin­ton isn’t for a ban, her an­swers sug­gested a crack­down that we found out-of-char­ac­ter and ob­vi­ous pan­der­ing to the far left.

In an ed­i­to­rial fol­low­ing the back-and-forth, we ar­gued that marginal­iz­ing the power of frack­ing would be ir­re­spon­si­ble, and held that do­ing so would be “di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed to the in­ter­ests of the poor and mid­dle class that Clin­ton and San­ders pro­fess to sup­port.”

— Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

We do re­call voic­ing our dis­plea­sure with both San­ders and Clin­ton for their an­swers to ques­tions about frack­ing in an early March de­bate. While Clin­ton isn’t for a ban, her an­swers sug­gested a crack­down that we found outof-char­ac­ter and ob­vi­ous pan­der­ing to the far left.

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