Emails from John Podesta’s hacked account reveal he and aides were fully aware of “Pizzagate” rumors in the summer of 2016, and sought to exploit them on Reddit and YouTube for their own political gain. But it backfired badly.
The pizzagate scandal has worked its way into the nation’s historical lore, cited alternately as a demonstration of diligent investigative journalism, evidence of demented power abuse by protected elites, and so-called “fake news” run wild.
A recently released trove of Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s emails contains an exchange with an aide provisionally identified as Susan Sandler, addressing the conspiracy theory, at first incredulously. Excerpt:
S: Something about a pizza-stained handkerchief with some kind of map. How this relates to anything about child porn or smuggling is perverse. Who makes this up and why? [3.11.15]
But as time passed and details were shared on social media linking code words and symbols, and suspicious photos emerged showing strange activities at the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, campaign leadership spotted an opportunity.
P: Let if play out. It’s even more far-fetched than birther and that JH [Jade Helm] bullshit. It might even turn off Republicans who aren’t complete imbeciles, and drive them to HRC. [12.4.15]
Clearly Podesta miscalculated (again), as not only did the scandalous account grow in scope and detail, voters cited it as proof of mainstream media bias toward Clinton and the Democrats for at best ignoring it, and at worst discrediting it out of hand. But the Clinton campaign proved as utterly tone-deaf to this development as they did the electorate
S: This would be laughable if it didn’t reveal the depths of stupidty [sic] and depravity that the Rs and alt-right have sunk to. [2.15.16]
P: It’s so dumb it drools. Just ignore it and let them sink themselves. [2.16.16]
The entire episode indicates that the Clinton leadership team never came to grips with the true nature of their political opposition, and richly deserved the outcome they earned.
[Photo credit: 4Chan]