Hillary is No Media Darling

The TV is on out in the living room; I’m in my office in the back, but I can still hear it. It’s on MSNBC; I might just very well be driven to go in and change it to Fox or CNN. Tim Russert is bloviating about how “brutal” the next seven weeks will be for the campaigns, specifically the Democratic campaigns. Because you know fer damn sure, Tim, and all those fuckers, will do their absolute best to make it so the campaigns live up to the word of Timmah! They said it, now it has to happen.

I’ve been disturbed and dismayed over the coverage involving Hillary of the print media AND of the television pundits especially since reading this story. From ABC, the Washington Post . . . .

Hillary stepped onto the parked press bus in Indianola for about 90 seconds to deliver bagels and coffee, and I’m not sure what this says about Clinton and the press — the chill, I think, comes from both sides — but it was a strange moment. She expressed her sympathies that we’re away from our families and “significant others,” tried a joke at the expense of her press secretary, and paused. Nobody even shouted a question, whether because of the surprise, the assumption that she wouldn’t actually answer, or the sheer desire to end the encounter.

One reporter compared the awkwardness to running unexpectedly into an ex-girlfriend.

“Maybe we should go outside and warm up,” said another, as Clinton exited into the freezing air.

Another spot from Media Matters – Dana Milbank of the Washington Post

From the Nexis transcript of the December 30 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources:

KURTZ: I had the impression it was a camp reunion when I was out there in Iowa. And it is great, the retail campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire. It is fun to cover and it is real, but it’s — when the votes are counted and we decide who did well — for example, Hillary Clinton, let’s say she doesn’t win Iowa. Let’s say she gets edged out by 1,000 votes. Is the press going to savage her as a loser?

MILBANK: The press will savage her no matter what, pretty much.

KURTZ: If she wins?

MILBANK: Well, obviously if she wins by any great margin — the press with Hillary Clinton, it’s a poisonous relationship. And I visited the various campaigns out there. It’s a mutual sort of disregard. And they really have their knives out for her, there’s no question about it out there. So —

KURTZ: And to what extent do you think that is affecting the coverage of Senator Clinton?

MILBANK: I think it unquestionably is. And I think Obama gets significantly better coverage than Hillary Clinton does, and given an equal performance he’ll come out better for it.

KURTZ: Is this because journalists like Obama better than Hillary or —

MILBANK: It’s more that they dislike Hillary Clinton. There is a long history there, her antagonism towards the press. It’s returned in spades. And it is a venomous relationship that I see out there.

KURTZ: Interesting. All right.

Yeah, it’s interesting all right. It’s interesting that the press corps cannot, for the very life of them, ACT like fucking grownups. Is that too much to ask of these corporate shrills?

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The day after the incident Glenn Greenwald wrote extensively on it. He had this bit included from the Washington Post daily chat. Lois Romano hits the nail squarely on the head.

Washington: I just read on The Post’s Trail page that Clinton dropped by the press bus to drop off coffee etc. and was met with cold silence. Wow. Even after 15 years, why is there so much press hostility towards the Clintons? If it turns out to be McCain vs. Clinton (my current guess) in the general, the difference in press coverage between these two is going to be as staggering as it is depressing.

washingtonpost.com: The Trail: Clinton Joins the Girls on the Bus (washingtonpost.com, Jan. 2)

Lois Romano: I was struck by that as well. I have covered Hillary Clinton off and on for 15 years and I’ve never seen anything that stark happen. While there is a tense relationship between Clinton and the media, I’m not sure why the reporters on the bus wouldn’t have tried to take advantage of her appearance and ask some good questions. All she could do is refuse to answer them. It’s not for the press to be hostile to Clinton — it’s the media’s responsibility to cover her. (italics, underline mine)

Precisely. As one commenter [hazwalnut | January 3, 2008 08:16 AM] wrote, ”

I agree with the comments that the press corp, especially the women, have been a disappointment during this race. We do not want their personal opinions…they are not qualified to select our candidate and since most are wealthy, superficial onlookers, we couldn’t expect anything other than a superficial point of view. They are most concerned with their makeup and image and it’s obvious that they are their biggest fans. Can we elect another press corp??

So, who’s the ‘problem then?

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3 Responses

  1. What I’d love to hear a greater explanation from someone of is why, exactly, the media animosity exists. All we’ve heard about lately is the consensus that it does exist… but what’s the other side of the story? I do think that some once-reputable media outlets are seriously losing credibility, though. It’s rather amazing.

    (email me if you would like to exchange links with my blog, I enjoy yours!)

  2. The media seems to be creating a situation where the following happens:
    1) The public is severely dumb-down
    2) Enough drama is created in the election process to raise the ratings, gain more consistent viewers in order to further the ultimate gain of the owners and executives of the networks by raising the the amount revenue made with advertising.
    The media knows more than it tells you. The power-people in the campaigns know the outcomes of the primaries a long time before the public does, so the media would love to do whatever it could to drag it out. The economy is shot, so one way to keep revenue flowing for advertisers, for cable companies, for media…. is to prolong the elections…. lawsuits, recounts, do-overs….. whatever it takes. I understand that the concept of Super Delegates came about as early as the late 60’s/ early 70’s, yet since I was old enough to vote (I am 33), I have never really heard anything about this. it seems like each election cycle has new drama, new excuses, new ways to circumvent popular vote. It is not truly “for the people, by the people” but rather “for the people’s best interest, by a select few” (that we did not always choose).

  3. Christine gave me the blog address. Who knew!!

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