The New York Times only seemed interested in covering Attorney General Loretta Lynch's private meeting with Bill Clinton this week when Republicans finally decided to "pounce" on that news.
The Monday evening conversation, which took place in Arizona aboard Lynch's private plane, was off the record, and likely would have gone unnoticed were it not for the attentiveness of local ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV.
The Attorney General confirmed Wednesday the confab took place, but insisted it was purely social.
Lawmakers on both sides have criticized the exchange as inappropriate, and said it doesn't look good for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who is under FBI investigation for her use of an unauthorized and unsecured private email server when she worked at the State Department.
The Times originally ignored news of their private interaction, and published no original content on the issue for the first 24 hours after the story broke.
Though the Times published an Associated Press article at 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, the timestamp on the paper's version of the wire story claimed it went up 9:33 a.m. ET, which is two hours before the actual AP report was published. Later that same day, the Times finally addressed the story with an original report titled "Meeting Between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch Provokes Political Furor."
That story included a passage noting presumed GOP nominee Donald Trump had "seized" on the private conversation as a way to attack the Democratic front-runner.
"Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, seized on the incident, describing it in a radio interview as a 'sneak' meeting and saying it exposed the rigged nature of the process," the Times' Mark Landler wrote.
Later on Friday, the Times published two original reports on the controversial conversation between Clinton and Lynch, and each made use of the "Republicans seize" trope.
The first story, titled "Loretta Lynch to Accept F.B.I. Recommendations in Clinton Email Inquiry," suggested GOP lawmakers were making hay of the issue. The report was written by the Times' Mark Landler and Matt Apuzzo, and it included a line ripped directly from Landler's story published Thursday afternoon.
"Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seized on the private encounter, describing it in a radio interview as a 'sneak' meeting and saying it exposed the rigged nature of the process," the line read. "Republicans have seized on the matter to question Mrs. Clinton's judgment," it added.
An additional story published Friday, titled "Bill Clinton's Meeting With Loretta Lynch Causes Stir in Both Parties," repeated the message.
The exchange between Lynch and Clinton "lasted roughly 20 minutes, and Ms. Lynch's husband was present for it. But Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, pounced on the news in a radio interview on Thursday," the Times' Maggie Haberman wrote.
The paper published a daily briefing Friday mentioning the private meeting, but it includes no references to Republicans "seizing" or "pouncing." The Times also published separate Reuters reports Thursday and Friday that mentioned the incident, but those stories are not original to the paper.
The Times' focus on Republicans "seizing" and "pouncing" is not new, as it is fairly common for that newsroom to zero in on the Right's reaction to controversies involving Democratic lawmakers and candidates.
In April, for example, after the outgoing president sent Congress his Guantanamo Bay closure plans, and members of the GOP reacted, the Times ran with a headline titled, "Republicans Seize on Guantanamo Fears in Re-election Races."
Earlier, on Dec. 4, 2015, after two Islamic jihadists went on a killing spree in San Bernardino, Calif., the Times published a headline focusing on reactions from Republican lawmakers.
"GOP Candidates Seize on Shootings in California as Proof of Terror Threat," read the story's original headline.
In August 2015, when Republican lawmakers were first arguing that the IRS did not have the authority to issue subsidies to states operating under the federal health insurance exchanges, the Times published a headline reading, "House Republicans, Seizing on Health Law, Challenge Executive Branch."
In 2013, after the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, the Times published a story that was headlined, "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On."
The year before that, during the 2012 presidential election, the Times' coverage of the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, included a headline that read, "New Front in Campaign as G.O.P. Seizes on Libya Attack."
(h/t Gabriel Malor)