What’s This Times Piece About the Clintons Saying?

Early this morning, the New York Times unveiled a 2,878-word, A1 investigation into the Clinton Foundation, the eponymous philanthropic arm of the Clinton family’s equally unquenchable ambitions. “PAPER TAKES DOWN CLINTON FOUNDATION,” Drudge trumpeted; “devastating,” The Telegraph gasped. Uh, but: the piece doesn’t seem to have much of a point. Is the Times trying to say something it can’t print?

From the start, reporters Nick Confessore and Amy Chozick peg their story as a tale of excess and corruption:

For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

The pair document how a cast of Clinton acolytes—including Foundation employees Ira Magaziner, Doug Band, and Eric Braverman; Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent; and NRG chief David Crane—have either wasted foundation money or used their positions for their own financial or reputational gain. For color, Confessore and Chozick reveal that the Foundation once paid for actress Natalie Portman’s first-class plane ticket.

Yes...and?

The headline alone should tell us that what we’re in for: “Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions.” Unease! My stars! It’s a performance of a story: “Concerns” rise, “[l]ong-simmering tensions” are “aggravated,” relationships “draw scrutiny.” But nothing actually happens.

Of course the Clinton Foundation is a disorganized shitshow stuffed with creepy hacks and starfuckers; of course it bends to the whims of Clinton disciples (and donors). Its mission statement—“to strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence”—means precisely nothing at all. That the Clinton family has surrounded itself with rich idiots and ethically bankrupt grifters is repellent and a little sad. It’s not, however, new or exciting.

Which suggests that something specific—something more than just “unease”—lurks between the piece’s many, many lines. But what? Is Hillary hiding a still-living Vince Foster somewhere in her D.C. office building? Is Chelsea threatening to reveal her family as secretly reptilian? Maybe we’ve already said too much.

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