We’ve encountered this conduct before: Hillary Clinton hasn’t been doing a lot of press events.
There’s a long history to such decisions by White House candidates. That said, when certain candidates don’t do such events, the “press corps” tends to get angry.
Some such attitude seemed to lay behind a 1250-word “Political Memo” in last Saturday’s New York Times. According to Jason Horowitz, Candidate Clinton’s “real opponent” had finally declared!
This is the way he started:
HOROWITZ (5/23/15): Hillary Rodham Clinton was in a forgiving mood. She had been discussing the small-business economy at a round-table gathering at a bike shop here on Tuesday when the Fox News correspondent Ed Henry interrupted. When, he shouted, would she take questions from the news media she had ignored for weeks on end?“That leaves the news media as her only real opponent so far on the way to the Democratic presidential nomination?”
''Maybe when I finish talking to the people here,'' Mrs. Clinton said as she leaned over a 3-D printed mechanical part that looked like a post-apocalyptic Rubik's cube. ''How's that?''
''You'll come over?'' Mr. Henry followed up.
''I might,'' Mrs. Clinton said teasingly. For the amusement of the 19 local residents invited to attend this latest installment of the movable Clinton court, and to the annoyance of the more than 50 members of the news media roped off around them, she added: ''I have to ponder it. But I will put it on my list for due consideration.''
Unlike in 2008, when Mrs. Clinton's regal bearing was brought low by Barack Obama's insurgent campaign, there is no one to force her out of her Rose Garden. Neither Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, nor Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland, has applied significant pressure on her. That leaves the news media as her only real opponent so far on the way to the Democratic presidential nomination, and while it may not be great for an educated populace or the furtherance of American democracy, it makes all the political sense in the world for Mrs. Clinton to ignore them, too.
Presumably, Horowitz didn’t mean that the way it sounds. But the rest of his piece had a familiar old sound, a sound we’ve heard before.
The snark and the snide were rather persistent all through the Horowitz piece. Forget about the way Obama undermined Clinton’s “regal bearing” in Campaign 2008. We’ve searched, but we still don’t understand this additional comment about that campaign:
HOROWITZ: She has rolled out more liberal positions on immigration reform and college debt and stayed mum on inconvenient things she does not want to talk about, like a potential trade deal or Israeli policies loathed by her liberal base. And unlike in 2008—when the battle between her and Mr. Obama forced Mrs. Clinton to do events late into the night, and she often slipped up or held forth about brain science—she is keeping her campaign schedule to a bare minimum.“She often held forth about brain science?” On line, there are many links in Horowitz’s report. But there is no link to help explain that odd claim, and we were able to find no clues in a short attempt at a search.
Horowitz was snarking a bit about the topics Clinton was said to be avoiding. (We’re not sure why she’d be talking about “Israeli policies loathed by her liberal base” in these very early outings.) As he continued, he found several ways to tell his readers how fake and phony and disingenuous the candidate actually is.
This is familiar practice:
HOROWITZ: This week, as she campaigned in Iowa, Chicago and New Hampshire, where on Friday she again took questions from reporters—a relative flurry of activity—she generally filled each day with one event open to the news media, a smaller one with a pool reporter, and then some unexpected stops where she ordered coffee or bought toys for her grandchild. Always the grandchild.In that passage, we’re told that Clinton “dodged artfully” about the trade pact. Also, that she “obfuscated with ease” in response to other questions.
At the bike shop event on Tuesday, she listened intently to the stories of the round-table participants, nodding 43 times a minute as they talked about their ice cream shops and 3-D printing. As television lights cast the shadows of two rows of ''everyday Americans'' onto the tablecloth, she looked expertly over the locals' heads and into the television cameras behind them to give her prepared remarks (''I want to make the words 'middle class' mean something again'').
She complimented the participants on their inquiries (''that's a very fair question'' or ''that's a very good question''), and when the moderator unexpectedly pushed her on her position on President Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, she dodged artfully.
The smile on Mrs. Clinton's face slowly faded as she nodded and replied and obfuscated in response to the half-dozen questions asked of her. She did so with ease, despite the people shouting about her destroying her emails and calling out, ''Did you take official actions for the Clinton Foundation donors?'' And then she turned away, essentially dusting the whole dodging-the-press story line off her bird's-eye blazer.
You’ll note that Horowitz didn’t report anything Clinton actually said. We readers were simply expected to take his word for the fact that she had behaved in the way he described. After all, consider the way she had “looked expertly over the locals' heads!”
Just how phony is Candidate Clinton? Horowitz offered a key statistic. The candidate nodded 43 times per minute as she looked over the heads of those “everyday Americans,” he skillfully said. Scare quotes were placed around those words to provide a bit more snark.
Also note: In the New York Times, Candidate Bush is hailed as the world’s greatest human when he discusses his 84-year-old mother-in-law. When Candidate Clinton discusses her grandchild, she is subjected to snark.
When “journalists” of this type get mad, they have many ways to get even. Note the imagery Horowitz turned to late in his piece. Also note his comical words of self-praise, delivered without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness:
HOROWITZ: Mrs. Clinton's relationship with the political press has never been warm. She started the 2008 race straight-arming reporters, and only when the nomination began slipping from her grasp did she seek to embrace them. It was too late. When she boarded the press bus with bagels (''I didn't want you to feel deprived''), no one partook. Despite that chill, though, there was a sense of professionalism and familiarity on the Clinton bus, because many of the reporters represented New York-based publications and had covered her as a senator. News conferences were not frequent, but they occurred behind curtains after events.Back in 2008, the professionalism of Horowitz’s colleagues made things somewhat bearable! Last Saturday, he showcased their current professionalism with his “circus freak” jibe and with the comment about reading the “scripts” to her “daily shows.”
Now, both Mrs. Clinton and the news media have changed. She seems less a presidential candidate than a historical figure, returning to claim what is rightfully hers. And the press corps, both blessed and cursed with live streaming, tweeting and Snapchatting technologies, is armed with questions devised to win the moment. The result is a carnival atmosphere. It is not clear what Mrs. Clinton gains politically from playing the freak.
The solution for her team has been to keep the press at bay as Mrs. Clinton reads the scripts to her daily campaign shows.
We’ve seen this type of writing in the New York Times before. During Campaign 2000, Katharine “Kit” Seelye specialized in endless, small-ball punishments of the vile Candidate Gore.
Seelye’s “mistakes” and double standards came at Times readers early and often. People are dead all over the world because of the unprofessional, indulgent way she was allowed to perform.
For one especially striking example, consider the way she punished Candidate Gore in early March 2000. In Seelye’s magisterial judgment, he wasn’t doing enough press events. And so she resorted to this:
SEELYE (3/2/00): [J]ust as Mr. Gore was warming up to voters, he was clamming up to the press. The campaign wanted to ensure that he was delivering only the rehearsed message of the day, not random comments that were "off-message."Seelye punished Candidate Gore this day with a brace of “uhs” and by transcribing every repeated word. She journeyed back several years in time to throw in a jibe about “no controlling legal authority.”
To see just how focused Mr. Gore has become on this task, go back to the scene in the hotel lobby here on Tuesday night.
The escort finally arrived and the traveling horde of perhaps two dozen journalists took the elevator to the vice president's suite. When everyone was assembled, Mr. Gore said nothing—this was supposed to be a "photo op" only—until a reporter asked, "How you feeling?"
"I'm grateful to the people of Washington State because, based on the projections, it looks like a big win, but I'm not taking anything for granted," Mr. Gore said.
He was then asked what message he had for Mr. Bradley.
"Uh, well, I don't, uh, have any, uh, message, uh, for, uh, for Senator Bradley," he responded slowly. "Uh, I, I, my message is for the, the voters of the country. Uh, I ask for their support. I'm not taking a single vote for, for granted."
Another question came. When would it be time for him to start unifying the Democratic Party?
At this point, Gore aides started trying to remove reporters from the room. Mr. Gore answered, "I, I am not taking a single vote for granted."
Much cross-talk ensued as the aides continued trying to hustle reporters out and Mr. Gore asserted, with the same rote-like repetition with which he famously said that there was "no controlling legal authority" over his fund-raising techniques, that he was not taking a single vote for granted.
Earlier in this piece, Seelye complained about the candidate’s changed habits. Her punishment techniques were on display all through this sad, dishonest passage:
SEELYE: [T]he vice president remains unusually distant from his traveling press corps, especially for a former journalist.As Seelye of course knew, Gore’s “blunder” about the Internet was made in a formal studio interview, not in “spontaneous conversation” with traveling reporters. But it was an embarrassing reference, so she threw it in.
He was not always this way. As recently as a year ago, when he was traveling with just a few reporters and was not so much in the spotlight, he was more willing to engage in spontaneous conversation. But over time, he made blunders—claiming a central role in the creation of the Internet, for example—that got him publicity he did not want.
At the same time, his advisers told him that the trappings of the vice presidency made him seem too imperious, and he went through a very public transition in which he tried to relate to voters in a more human way, wearing casual clothes and holding open meetings.
Candidate Gore wore casual clothes on the trail from Day One of Campaign 2000, back in March 1999. We’ve documented that fact in great detail. In her comments about wardrobe changes, she was simply pimping the theme that Candidate Gore, who was phony and fake, had been endlessly “reinvented.”
Also, Naomi Wolf!
Gore’s “blunder” about the Internet was not as Seelye seemed to describe. In turn, Seelye omitted a disastrous event from the “spontaneous conversations” the Gore campaign had now decided to end. Way back in November 1997, Gore made an offhand remark about an old movie to a pair of reporters during a lengthy, late-night plane ride. It was transformed into an iconic “lie” by disgraceful people like Seelye:
Al Gore said he inspired Love Story!
The two reporters who actually heard what Gore said complained about what their colleagues did. But an ugly war was taking shape, and Seelye would serve as one of its leading warriors. In December 1999, she would “accidentally” “misquote” a statement by Gore about Love Canal. It became the third iconic “lie” in the trio of Gore’s invented “lies.”
People are dead all over the world because “Kit” Seelye did that.
Last Saturday, Horowitz was working to the Seelye standard. Might we note one last familiar part of his snark-infested profile?
It came in paragraph 21 of his 24-graf report. Note how poorly the highlighted passage comports with the impression he worked to convey in his first 20 paragraphs:
HOROWITZ: The solution for her team has been to keep the press at bay as Mrs. Clinton reads the scripts to her daily campaign shows.Horowitz worked his ascot off to convey the sense that Clinton was fake and phony with those Iowa voters. When he finally quoted a local person, that person reported a totally different impression.
''The media was confined between the bar and the stove,'' Gary Swenson said, describing an event with Mrs. Clinton at his home in Mason City, Iowa, on Monday. Asked if he had learned anything from her talk, he said, ''No, I don't think I learned anything remarkably new,'' but added after a pause: ''I think it was more her demeanor. It astonished me. I expected somebody who had space between herself and the people who lived here, and there was none.''
This was very common in the New York Times “reporting” about Candidate Gore. Seelye worked a remarkable con of this very type from New Hampshire in the fall of 1999, but we’re running out of space.
These “reporters” are very bad people. They’ve been that way for a very long time. They aren’t real honest; they have little discipline; they’re swollen with a sense of their own importance.
They seem determined to con their readers in ways they find appropriate.
People are dead all over the world because they did this the last time. Careerists in the liberal world have agreed that this can’t be discussed.
Just a speculation: Today’s piece by Amy Chozick strikes us as strangely warm.
It seems to be very strangely warm. To our ear, the tone of the piece seemed so unusual that we wondered if it might be some sort of a “make-up piece.”