September 4, 2016

Last Friday, Washington Post reporter David Farenthold broke a blockbuster of a story about Donald Trump, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and a clear-cut pay-to-play scheme. Our report on that is here.

It's a blockbuster of a report that can leave no doubt about the fact that there was a quid pro quo between Bondi and Trump, with an equally clear effort to conceal it on the Trump Foundation reports.

In other words, it's truly a scandal. A REAL scandal. One that should have dominated today's Sunday shows and the newspaper headlines this weekend. Yet, there was no mention that I saw on any Sunday shows, and headlines are still dominated with bogus Clinton email stories.

Curiously, only MSNBC has reported the story at all. Joy Reid did a lengthy segment while sitting in for Chris Hayes on All In last Friday night, a bit of which we've clipped above. In the words of Joe Biden, this is a BFD.

After sitting through all of the Sunday shows today, I wondered about where all of the stories on this were, so I went on a hunt. I searched the transcripts for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC to see where they had done any reporting on this. There are also huge questions about whether Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also dropped a Trump University investigation after receiving $35,000 from Trump, but for now let's focus on Bondi since the Trump Foundation admitted they sent her a contribution when they weren't supposed to.

The last mention of Bondi on Fox News was on August 24th, ahead of a Trump rally where she was slated to warm up the crowd. Before that, the last mention was during the Republican National Convention, where she was a speaker.

There have been no mentions of Bondi whatsoever on CNN since Wolf Blitzer interviewed a Gold Star parent who talked about a meeting Bondi facilitated with Trump.

While it's unsurprising for Fox News to keep mum on a blockbuster story like this because they're Fox News, what is CNN's excuse?

Some of my Twitter friends suggest one possibility. CNN President Jeff Zucker and Donald Trump have a history that reaches way back.

Buzzfeed reported back in May that Trump had given $150,000 to a charity where Zucker's wife served as a board member. That report flew largely under the radar, as did the ongoing relationship between Trump and Zucker.

It seems Zucker is the guy who gave the go-ahead for The Apprentice, while still at NBC. He is apparently good buddies with Trump. As Buzzfeed reported, their kids went to the same schools.

Then there's this tweet from Trump:

Could this be why they won't let go of Corey Lewandowski, too? Has there been an edict from on high that CNN should not report on the Trump scandals while focusing on the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton email non-stories, and while employing Trump's former campaign manager who is still on the Trump campaign's payroll?

Here's a project for New York Times, ABC, NBC, and CBS reporters with far too much time and bitterness on their hands after coming up short on the email non-scandal. Why the cone of silence on what is, arguably, a true example of money corrupting politics?

We, the public, have a right to know if one of the two candidates routinely buys off politicians to avoid investigations. The candidate who does that is not Hillary Clinton, but you'd never know unless you're a fan of Joy-Ann Reid and caught her report Friday night.

Update: In response to this story, Jake Tapper tweeted this:

I replied asking him to link me up with the report, because I searched their site, their transcripts and an outside service and could find no mention of Bondi. I will update this post if he responds with a link.

Update 2: Tapper reponded on Twitter that he reported it in June. i agree, he did. But it was a one-hit wonder. He also insisted his panel addressed it on Friday. I looked again, and did find a discussion. However, the reason I didn't locate it via my searches is because Pam Bondi wasn't mentioned by name. Instead the entire report was framed as "an attack" launched by the Clinton camp as a "tit-for-tat." There was a panel discussion alongside the report, which you can see below.

My take? It's framed inside the politics of the thing, and not the ethics of the thing, nor does it emphasize the actual scandal of the quid pro quo. However, it is absolutely true that they did spend a few minutes covering it on Tapper's show. The video is below:

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