Joshua Green, a senior editor at the Atlantic, invites OffTheBus members to dig through memos and emails leaked by some of Senator Hillary Clinton's senior staffers. In his most recent piece, "The Front-Runner's Fall," Green provides a chronology of Clinton campaign mishaps and debates, all set in a memoranda backdrop. Here, Green dishes on how his story came into being and appeals for your help:
Earlier this summer, the Atlantic set out to examine exactly why Hillary Clinton's campaign fell apart. Two years ago, Clinton was considered all but inevitable -- she would win the Democratic nomination and probably the presidency. The epic nature of her campaign's collapse was something we felt had not been satisfactorily explained. I spent the last few months interviewing current and former Clinton staffers and outside consultants with a goal of trying to elicit anything that would provide a contemporaneous account of what happened and what they were thinking and saying to each other -- I asked for memos, emails, letters, even diary entries if they'd share them. The result was an unprecedented leak of very senior-level internal documents.
The thought behind the piece was to take the great stuff we'd been leaked and use it in the most innovative way we could find. In addition to our heavyweight lineup of bloggers and web video, we've been giving a lot of thought to how best to present pieces from the magazine on our website in ways that take full advantage of the platform and the readership. I've long been a fan of sites like 'OffTheBus' and 'TPM Document Dump' and 'Smoking Gun,' so I thought it would be cool to scan and post the campaign's internal documents in an easily browse-able format. The idea is to throw open the reporter's notebook, as it were, and let readers see the primary materials for themselves. Let them make up their own minds about what happened to the Clinton campaign and who is to blame. Of course, I'm not looking to put myself out of work here, so there's also an accompanying magazine piece that lends a broader context, includes additional reporting, and links to the relevant materials. I hope people will read it. But if you'd rather not settle for a writer's interpretation of what is or is not important, you don't have to. You can click through the materials in chronological order and see the campaign unfold that way. This was essentially the Mt. Vesuvius of campaign leaks: there's tons more stuff than could ever fit into a single magazine piece, and we fully expect that readers and bloggers will find all kinds of stuff buried in these memos and emails and help advance the story.
~~ Joshua Green
Is Green's hindsight 20/20? Take a look for yourself. Then write up your findings and publish them at OffTheBus.