Accuracy in Media

MSNBC’s Morning Joe panel, liberally tilted as usual, slammed Hillary Clinton Monday for repeatedly trying to justify her use of a private email server by comparing it to former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s occasional use of a private email account.

The segment opened with clips of Clinton mentioning Powell’s use of a private email account, and summed it up in one clip as, “Colin Powell and I are exactly on the same page.”

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said that there was no comparison between what Clinton did and what Powell did, and by injecting him into the conversation she is forcing him to answer back—which he did to People magazine—where he accused Clinton of trying to “pin the blame” for her email scandal on him:

“Her people have been trying to pin it on me. The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”

After some further discussion, Scarborough ran down a list of the differences between how Powell used email, as compared to Clinton, during their tenures as secretary of state:

  • He never used a private server
  • At the time he became secretary in 2001, the State Department didn’t have a comparable unclassified system
  • He used personal emails only for unclassified information
  • He used an office desktop for all classified communications

Even liberal columnist Mike Barnicle agreed with Scarborough’s assessment of the differences:

“The biggest distinction, the only distinction, the most important distinction is that … Powell never had his own personal server,” he said. “That is the biggest difference. I mean if you had sent Colin Powell an email on his personal email account when he was secretary of state, you’d get a personal email back, having nothing to do with classification, nothing. But, there was no personal email server.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, who plans to vote for Clinton despite her concerns about the email scandal, said that Powell took great care in his handling of his emails compared to Clinton.

Maybe Clinton thought that since Powell voted for Obama twice, he wouldn’t mind being her email scandal scapegoat, but she guessed wrong. Powell showed that he doesn’t want his reputation sullied by a secretary of state who willfully subverted the system for her own personal gain.

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