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.
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.