Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Clinton Foundation now facing accusations of money laundering

So, now a Fox News personality is accusing Hillary Clinton of money laundering. Put your guns away, we’ll go over “consider the source” in a moment. But let’s get to the meat of this controversy first.

Judge Jeannine Pirro recently did her job, which, apparently is no longer to listen to evidence and make considered decisions based on the law. It’s to bash Hillary Clinton with her morning coffee. Fine, it’s a living, and she’s entitled to make it. The most recent salvo? Accusing Hillary Clinton of literally laundering money through the Clinton Foundation. Her evidence? Well, you don’t really need evidence to rile up folks who hate Clinton, right. Some accusations a few correlative bits of information, pull it all together in a soundbite with an attractive graphic and there you go. Instantly packaged “truth”.

In case you were wondering if we’re being objective here, this is the actual quote: “The foundation is nothing more than a money laundering operation that was used as a slush fund. It is not a charitable foundation. No charitable foundation has only 10 percent that goes to charity…”

Did Pirro offer evidence and documentation to back up these accusations? Of course not. This is daytime political talk TV. Totally evidence-free zone, which is exactly how the viewers (on both side) like it. They want to have arguments that support their side, not research. That’s too much like homework.

But the purpose of this article is not to decry the current state of TV “news”. The real issue here is the trap involved in all this back and forth. The lesson here is simple: don’t spring the trap. You won’t win the “argument” because those predisposed to doubt you are not really listening.

Here’s the application, especially for all of you out there with a (very) limited nonprofit budget, in cash and time. You have to choose your battles. If Clinton responded to every negative thing the hired guns at Fox and Breitbart said about the Clinton Foundation, she would be able to do nothing else. Which, of course, is part of the plan for those guys.

And, yes, it works both ways. While Trump does a good job of putting his own foot in his mouth, even when he doesn’t there are some in the media which delight in taking him out of context or pretending not to understand what he means when he says something provocative.

The other part of the plan is to feed the base, which is constantly starving for yet another reason to hate the Other Guy. Bottom line, there will be critics, some fair, mostly unfair, under-informed and angry about something else, really. Don’t let them distract you. Focus your resources on doing the good you set out to do, and let your PR team manage the messaging.

David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC.

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