This article in the New York Times is, in a way, a work of genius. It achieves the following:
1. Disregarding the corruption of the Hillary Clinton campaign as if it were nothing. The article is instead concerned with how email technology is not very useful if you’re engaged in shady corrupt enterprises.
For example, take a look at this remarkable snippet on the subject of an email chain in which team Clinton decide to take donations from dodgy foreign agents:
“That prompted the kicker from Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director: “Take the money!!” she wrote from her iPhone.
In the days following WikiLeaks’ publication, this thread became a campaign issue. Donald J. Trump even drew attention to Ms. Palmieri’s line at a rally this week.
But it didn’t have to be so. If they had been using some other system to communicate, they would most likely have avoided this trouble.
Oh! If only it weren’t for these meddlesome email leaks they could’ve gotten away with it! Laments the New York Times. Paper of record. Y’know.. where JOURNALISTS are supposed to work. Who are supposed to dig up information rather than wish it had remained buried.
2. The article then provides tips for future shady corrupt political plotting. No, I’m not kidding:
A more modern communication system, something like Slack or HipChat, could still be hacked, but would have allowed for a central administrator to set an archiving policy. After a few days or weeks, this sort of conversation would have been erased.
Thanks for the tip! I, along with every corrupt politician around, will install said programs immediately!
Better still, an app like Signal, which encrypts its messages (and which the campaign is now reported to be using), would have made cracking the messages more difficult in the first place.
Great! Pray tell, New York Times, do you have any more useful advice for the corrupt politicians who have heretofore made the mistake of communicating their plots via email?
3. The article also, helpfully, goes out of its way to provide excuses for the Clinton emails. How helpful of The New York Times! Not only does it give advice on how to engage in nefarious deeds in future, it provides cover for the ones everyone already knows about! Hey, it’s all about context!
For instance, in context, Ms. Palmieri’s “Take the money!!” doesn’t sound so bad — it looks like a quick, half-cheeky way to end an overlong discussion. If it were said on a phone call or an instant message, “Take the money” would have sounded like an entirely normal way to end the conversation.
But email comes with no expectations. Because everything else in the thread sounds serious, Ms. Palmieri’s ending line can easily be colored as more sinister.
Well I’m convinced. Taking money from those Saudi donors isn’t sinister after all.
And, of course, its email’s fault, the technology itself, that something so obviously not-at-all-sinister sounded sinister. Bad email! Naughty email! How dare it make innocent Clinton plotting look bad!
What an exceptionally great article! By writing about the email scandals in this weirdly tangential way it makes you think the scandal doesn’t matter. It’s a whole lot of fuss about nothing. What this email news really makes you think about is whether electronic mail is suitable for modern political life!
Why else would the New York Times publish a piece that, apparently, is very concerned with the outdated technology of electronic mail not being suitable for modern twenty-first century life!?
Hey! Look! A squirrel!