Oftentimes, as a reporter, you walk away from a political press junket or interview feeling like you didn’t get the whole story. One reporter decided to call Hillary Clinton’s aide, Philippe Reines, out on this, and the response was unambiguous: “F— off.”
That is what occurred Sunday morning, when BuzzFeed political reporter Michael Hastings asked the Clinton aide a series of questions about the State Department’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attacks earlier this month. Also on the docket, the State Department’s condemnation of CNN for running a story about Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ personal journal.
To Hastings’ credit, his questions about the State’s handling of the violent attacks were good, forthright questions. Reines just didn’t take too kindly to them, and the curt e-mail exchange devolved into a profanity-laden personal attack.
It started passive-aggressively, with Reines attacking Hastings, who didn’t drop a bear on professionalism:
“I believe that you of all people, after famously being accused of violating agreed upon ground rules and questionable sourcing, would agree that it’s important for a news organization to maintain its own integrity if it is to be trusted,” wrote Reines, defending the State Department’s CNN slam.
“Thanks for getting back to me. No, you read my email correctly–I found your statement to CNN offensive,” continuing, “That CNN used portions of the material in the diary they found at the scene–material that appears to contradict the official version of events that State/WH has been putting out–is completely in line with practices of good journalism.”
That’s when things got nasty.
“Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” wrote Reines.
“Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bulls— for a change?”
Then the coup de gras:
“I now understand why the official investigation by the Department of the Defense as reported by The Army Times The Washington Post concluded beyond a doubt that you’re an unmitigated a–hole,” Reines wrote back. “How’s that for a non-bulls— response?”
“Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, have a good day,” he concluded, “And by good day, I mean F— Off.”
Head on over to BuzzFeed to read the entire melee uncensored, but then get back to us. Do you think that Reines was out of line? Did Hastings have legitimate questions? Do we still need answers to those questions? Sound off!