Following in the footsteps of most left-leaning media, the New York Times published both an opinion column and a news article excoriating FBI director James Comey, calling him an “extremely careless” partisan for re-opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The two pieces, however, differed from other scathing items in that they both took a deep stab at the lawman by comparing him to the late J. Edgar Hoover.
In Scott Shane and Sharon LaFraniere’s gripping news bit, Comey’s efforts recall the FBI’s “dark chapters,” including Hoover’s relentless pursuit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
But Shane and LaFraniere’s comparison didn’t come from a vacuum. It came from a man named Stanford Ungar, described as a “Georgetown scholar” and an expert on the FBI’s often mottled history.
“I think this is sort of a flashback to the days of J. Edgar Hoover,” Ungar tells the authors. “I don’t mean to smear Comey, and it may be an unfair comparison. But Hoover would weigh in on issues without warning or expectation. I just wonder how Comey sees his role.”
Ungar, it turns out, isn’t merely a non-partisan poll watcher. He’s a well-known political donor who has given generously to Democratic campaigns. In the 1990s, then president of American University, he famously commented that “this town has gone nuts,” in reference to the ongoing investigations into Bill Clinton’s private life. Ungar was, of course, also putting forth his opinion on Republicans leading the charge against the former president.
He may be an expert, but even Ungar, himself, has been quick to call out the media on keeping the full truth under wraps. He might agree that the New York Times should have disclosed that its unfavorable Comey comparisons came from a source with a potential partisan ax to grind.