By Rachel Stoltzfoos
Democrats are already cueing up an all too familiar talking point in response to the embarrassing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails leaked Friday.
The Hillary Clinton campaign is pushing a theory the Russians hacked the DNC and timed the release of the emails ahead of the party convention in order to help Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and is going so far as to suggest the emails might be “doctored.” This is a familiar talking point.
“Obviously they have to determine what’s accurate, what’s been doctored, what hasn’t been doctored,” Clinton campaign manager Robert Mook said on CNN Sunday. “And it’s troubling that some experts are telling us this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.”
The emails reveal DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was indeed conspiring with the Clinton campaign to thwart Bernie Sanders during the primaries, reigniting the narrative the DNC rigged the primary and stoking divisions ahead of a convention where Democrats are striving to present a united front.
The idea that Russia “doctored” the emails to make Democrats look bad isn’t really believable, and won’t mitigate the damage that was already done. Sanders supporters are furious all over again, and Wasserman Schultz stepped down from her position at the DNC.
Nonetheless, it’s an unsurprising talking point that has worked well in the past. After the Center for Medical Progress released a series of damning videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting aborted fetuses last year, the non-profit quickly responded by saying the footage was “heavily edited.” (RELATED: How The New York Times Is Covering The Planned Parenthood Videos)
Planned Parenthood’s surrogates, including many media outlets and liberal politicians, immediately picked up and uncritically repeated the talking point, although the claim proved absurd. It’s been wildly successful, however, and is still repeated almost every time the videos are mentioned.
Former Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner used a similar talking point to try to deny he used his Twitter account to tweet sexually explicit photos of himself to women.
“Stuff gets manipulated,” he said as the scandal broke, repeating the phrase that he couldn’t “say with certitude” whether he was the man in the nude photos. The strategy didn’t work out for him, and he ended up admitting to sending the photos and resigning from Congress.