Thursday, March 12, 2015

Getting it right on Hillary

Whenever the media tells me to jump, my shoes become glue.

I didn't really want to be on Team Hillary in 2007-8. I took that position because the Clinton Derangement Syndrome of our pundits became so repellent that I felt compelled to do the opposite of whatever they said.

Over the course of the past quarter-century, our allegedly "liberal" press has excused anything and anyone named Bush while screeching like a barrel of banshees about anything and anyone named Clinton.

Think back: How often have you heard the Clintons referred to as "secretive"? Quite often. Now ask yourself: How often has our press used that word to describe the Bushes? Not often -- even though Poppy Bush was the head of the See-Freakin'-Eye-A, and was accurately described by a notable operative as "one covert motherfucker." Such is the damnable double standard controlling our political discourse.

Emailgate -- or Eghazi, as some wits are calling it -- perfectly illustrates the point: Hillary is being condemned for doing the sort of thing that Dubya and his minions considered routine.

Worse, our pseudojournalists have rigged the game so that no possible response from Hillary will ever be good enough. If you read articles about her press conference, you'll hear about a Hillary Clinton who was as devious and doublefaced as Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin in Gotham. She practically waddled and twirled an umbrella.

But if you read the transcript of what she actually said, her words seem very reasonable and forthcoming.

She can't win. No matter how reasonable and forthcoming she is, the pundits will write: "Isn't it just like those sneaky Clintons to seem reasonable and forthcoming? How DARE they seem reasonable and forthcoming? Reasonableness and forthcomingness are obviously part of their scheme..."

Paul Waldman's piece in The Week offers an excellent history of the media's predilection for CDS. This passage captures the situation very well:
When this email story broke, how many journalists said it was important because it "plays into a narrative" of Hillary Clinton as scandal-tainted? I must have heard it a dozen times just in the past week.

Here's a tip for my fellow scribes and opinionators: If you find yourself justifying blanket coverage of an issue because it "plays into a narrative," stop right there. That's a way of saying that you can't come up with an actual, substantive reason this is important or newsworthy, just that it bears some superficial but probably meaningless similarity to something that happened at some point in the past.
"Narratives," furthermore, aren't delivered from Mt. Sinai on stone tablets. They're created and maintained by journalists making decisions about what's important and how different issues should be understood.
Here's a shorter way to put it: These shits are writing propaganda.

Laura Clawson, in the Dreaded Kos (no, all is not forgiven), offers similar observations:
Meanwhile, over at the Meet the Press website, the crack team of Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann began by citing another reporter's view that "What we learned yesterday is that Hillary Clinton hasn't changed a thing." What does that mean? "Folks, this is the Clinton Way. Secretive. Lawyerly. Dismissive of the press."

Dare I suspect that maybe the "dismissive of the press" part is what they really care about? Ben Smith also touched on that, writing that "she soldiered through Tuesday, looking at the press pack with undisguised dislike."

Serious question, guys: Watching this media circle jerk, who the fuck could blame her? I'm not some giant Clinton fan, but the spectacle of hundreds of reporters wetting themselves over this nothing-burger of a story inspires visceral disgust.
No, Beltway political reporters are infinitely energized by a Clinton personality story. They will never be worn out with that red meat to feed on. But stories that matter ... those they all too frequently get all jaded about, and let slide without serious investigation.
Precisely. These propagandists never gave a crap about anything Hillary actually did as SOS. They wrote more stories about that silly, much-reproduced photo of Hillary in dark glasses than they wrote about, say, her approach to Afghanistan or Syria.

I am not saying that Hillary should be considered above criticism. Quite the opposite. If a writer can a mount a critique based on something real and significant and difficult to convey in a two-second sound bite -- bravo. Alas, our journalists have forgotten how to practice journalism.

On this occasion, Big Tent Democrat has it partially right:
There's a lot to question about Hillary Clinton's policy positions, especially, in my view, on foreign policy. But those questions will never get asked by the Media on its own.

The Media doesn't actually care about policy. Partly because it's hard to report on policy. Partly because they don't really care about policy. The only way they do is if a political opponent raises the issue.
Want to hear about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy views? Want her hawkish ideas challenged? Don't count on the Media for that. It will take a primary challenger.
I happen to think that a primary challenge is a good idea, but not for this reason. It is foolish to ask a challenger to come forward in order to force journalists to do their jobs. Journalists will shirk actual work no matter what.

If there are primary debates, nobody will write about the candidates' positions. The media will cover those debates entirely in terms of personality, mode of dress, tone of voice, facial expressions, wordplay, gaffes and gotcha moments. You know: Bullshit.

Nevertheless, I would like to see a challenger step forward -- as long as we are given the right kind of challenger. We don't need any more Janus-faced phonies like Obama. I don't want to see journalists puff up another artificial messiah whose sole qualification for messiah-hood is that he is the Not-Clinton.

Is there another potential Obama out there? Offhand, I can't name anyone who might fulfill the pseudomessiah function. Elizabeth Warren and Jim Webb are not ersatz enough to get much love from the press corps.
You're a very poorly imformed person, No wonder your site isn't in the top 1 million

How do I contact you?
How do I contact you?
This comment has been removed by the author.
I will presume that the same person wrote the last three messages. If you can't find the scroll in the upper left corner of this blog, you have no right to call ME poorly informed.

And I have plenty of readers, thank you very much, despite doing nothing to promote this site. Dude, I've demanded that larger sites NOT link to me. Understand?

I doubt that you do.

Don't judge me by your standards. Just because everyone else is a competitive fuck, don't presume that I am. This blog is my refuge away from all of that nonsense. It's the one thing in my rotten life that I've tried to keep pure.
Judging from the first three comments I would say that hating the Clintons is very serious disease and it has no cure or vaccination.
Just so happens I agree with you Joe on the merits of an actual primary where a debate on issues and policy [past and present] would be aired and the primary candidates could showcase their knowledge and experience [or lack there of]. Unfortunately, I don't see any other contenders on the Democratic side. Warren [who I really do like] has said about 10,000 times she's not running. Maybe Webb, Sanders or O'Malley. Or someone else. The primary is where the rough edges are knocked off, where a candidate prepares for the general.

But we're living in a different world, a Citizens United [what an oxymoron] world that has changed the landscape dramatically and made the whole contest a money game--who can attract the mega donors, the shadow players. On the Republican side that's Jeb Bush with all the crazy wannabes nipping at his ankles. For Dems, that's Hillary Clinton with other candidates reluctant to enter the ring as mere sparring partners.

I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter but I don't like the crimped nature of the contest any more than you.

As for the media? They're hopeless, more like old women gossiping at a card game. As I said yesterday, there's no comparison between this faux email deal and what the Republicans, the cowardly and seditious gang of 47 did with regard to the Iran nuclear deal. The Benghazi question has gone through 6 or 7 Congressional investigations and millions of dollars, not to question CIA/arms involvement but to find something, anything to pin on Hillary Clinton. Where is the outrage from the press on the waste of resources and the mindless, endless witch hunt? No, it's more important to talk about her lack of respect for the very people hoping to skewer her.

Deja vu all over again! The establishment press wants to feel relevant again. Apparently diminishing a Clinton is the way to get there.

Good luck with that!

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