It was “friggin’ obvious” that Hillary Clinton wasn’t going to face criminal charges related to her private email server, and the media dropped the ball by not making that clear, argued Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall in a Tuesday post.
“Given what we knew, criminal charges weren't even in the realm of reasonable consideration,” stated Marshall. “You could find this out with just a little bit of reporting, speaking to former federal prosecutors, legal experts, really anyone knowledgable [sic] about the relevant law and past practice.” Nonetheless, “tens of millions of ordinary Republican voters were actually convinced not only that Clinton should be charged with something…but that it was likely or even certain to happen.”
Marshall opined that it’s “basically ridiculous” to wonder why Hillary won’t be charged and explained that “the nonsense about this being an epic crime has mainly overwhelmed the simple facts of what happened which show Clinton in a very poor light. Not a disqualifying light. But just really bad judgment on a few fronts…It's a mammoth [media] failure that for various reasons this reality was concealed from the public.”
As for why the MSM handled the story the way they did, in a February post Marshall wrote that, for one thing, they were trying to attract conservative readers (bolding added):
So why the press coverage? I think it's a combination of reasons. The most irreducible and perhaps most significant is simply prestige reporter derp [i.e., stupidity] and general ignorance of the legal system. Second is journalists' perennial inability to resist a process story. And third, let's be honest, wingnut page views.