If you were tapped into the Wikileaks scene last week, you might have run across a tweet like this:
As you see, the tweet references a legitimate email, though it cuts off most of the major details—as in, who sent it, to whom, and (most importantly, in this case), when. Without this information, it reads very much like Jane Sanders, wife of Democratic contender for the presidency Bernie Sanders, “begged” him not to endorse Hillary Clinton after he'd lost the primary. It's a juicy story, and it makes a kind of sense; there was plenty of mudslinging throughout that race, and it's easy to imagine some residual bitterness in the Sanders camp, particularly from someone as close to the candidate as his wife. There's a reason it was retweeted more than 2,000 times.
It's also totally bogus. Let's look at the actual email, sent from Robby Mook to John Podesta, Huma Abedin, and Clinton herself, and zoom out a bit:
Two important details emerge:
1. The subject of the email is “Shumlin.”
2. The email was sent on May 20, 2015, which is actually closer to the start of the primary, not the end.
And with that information alone, we start to see what's actually happening. “Shumlin” is Peter Shumlin, governor of Vermont, and a simple Google search reveals that on May 20, he announced his endorsement of Clinton. As it happened, this announcement came mere hours after Bernie Sanders released details of his “campaign kickoff” in Burlington, which took place along the waterfront on May 26. For the governor of Sanders' home state to throw his support behind Hillary, with such malicious timing, must have seemed like a particularly nasty betrayal. And not much of a surprise—Shumlin had already been working with the Clinton camp, and it seems like the relationship between he and Sanders frosty to begin with. Jane Sanders herself confirmed as much on Twitter:
So that’s what we’re dealing with here—Jane Sanders called to chastise, not beg, Shumlin, who threw Clinton his endorsement at a time when it seemed specifically designed to hurt Sanders the most. At its core, this was a local political fight—not, as Twitter would have you believe, a desperate plea from Bernie Sanders’ wife to stop him from endorsing Hillary Clinton.