Part 4—We have a dream today: Is it possible that the forbidden discussion will, at long last, take place?
We still have seventeen months to go before the public votes! On the other hand, the discussion in question has been forbidden for at least twenty years.
We’re imagining a full discussion of a peculiar journalistic phenomenon. We refer to the apparent loathing within the insider press for Clinton and Clinton (and Gore), along with the journalistic conduct which flows from that apparent loathing.
Within the past year, an unusual thing has occurred. In the lower reaches of the press, it has become fairly common to see career journalists refer to the press corps’ hatred of Clinton.
As we noted yesterday, Matt Yglesias recently described this apparent loathing and the journalistic misconduct which allegedly results.
“Journalists don't like Hillary Clinton,” he recently wrote at Vox. “For Clinton, good news is never just good news. Instead it's an opportunity to remind the public about the media's negative narratives about Clinton.”
In recent weeks, a range of scribes have made similar comments at Salon.
“As my colleagues Jim Newell, Heather Digby Parton and Elias Isquith have variously observed, the political media has a long-term relationship of mutual hatred with Hillary Clinton,” Andrew O’Hehir wrote last weekend. According to O’Hehir, the press corps “appears determined to cover [Clinton's] 2016 campaign...as a story of low-rent Freudian conflict between the candidate and the press corps.”
Does the political press corps hate Candidate Clinton? Does this hatred affect the way her campaign is being covered?
On their face, these are very serious charges. They’re now being made, on a fairly widespread basis, by recognizable writers at recognizable news orgs.
That said, Vox and Salon represent the provinces of the establishment press. The vast majority of American voters won’t hear about allegations and discussions which occur at such sites.
Will a discussion of these allegations move to higher-profile news orgs? The outcome of next year’s election may well turn on that question.
Let’s make an amazing observation. At this point, you can even make claims of this type if you write for the Washington Post, as long as your comments are confined to the lesser region of the newspaper’s blogs.
On June 2, Paul Waldman proved it! In a post at the liberal Plum Line blog, Waldman mused about the reasons why “journalists as a group seem to have such an intense dislike for Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
At this point, we’ll make you a guarantee:
The vast majority of voters have never even heard it alleged that “journalists as a group seem to have an intense dislike” for the Clintons. Even today, such observations are largely confined to the press corps’ provincial outposts, where few voters tread.
Those voters are even less likely to have heard the type of allegation which followed in Waldman’s post. Good lord! As he continued, Waldman suggested that the press corps’ “intense dislike” for the Clintons is tied in part to the Clintons’ “ability to emerge relatively unscathed from the innumerable mini-scandals and faux-scandals with which the press becomes temporarily consumed.”
Really? Over the years, has the American press corps “become temporarily consumed,” in serial fashion, with “innumerable faux-scandals” concerning the Clintons?
That seems to be what Waldman said—and that's a very serious charge. Our question:
In the last few years, have you seen that allegation discussed at the nation's high-profile news orgs? Do you see it being discussed at high-profile sites even today as our latest endless campaign is taking its obvious shape?
Please understand! Perhaps because he works for the Post, Waldman went on to semi-blame Candidate Clinton for the intensity of the way she is disliked by the press.
In our view, his reasoning bordered on the absurd. Beyond that, it displayed a type of self-regard often found in the upper-end press corps:
WALDMAN (6/2/15): To a degree, Clinton has a right to campaign however she wants. If she wants to do eight public events a day, she can do that, and if she wants to do one event every two weeks, she can do that too. But she does have an obligation to treat the press like what it is at the most fundamental level: the public’s representative. If you’re not an Iowan, you’re going to need the media to understand what Clinton wants to do as president, so the campaign has to enable the media to meet that need (after all, you aren’t going to learn much from Clinton’s twitter feed). Clinton doesn’t have to treat reporters like royalty, but she has to afford them the basic level of respect necessary for them to do their jobs.Waldman is a good, smart, decent liberal. But in our view, that’s borderline nuts, in at least two ways:
But if they’re going to convince her to do that, many of them are going about it the wrong way. I’ve suggested before that part of the reason journalists as a group seem to have such an intense dislike for Bill and Hillary Clinton is that their ability to emerge relatively unscathed from the innumerable mini-scandals and faux-scandals with which the press becomes temporarily consumed is an implicit rebuke to the press’ power. You can see that in the argument some in the media are now making about this troubled relationship: that Clinton should work to improve it because her numbers in this or that poll are slipping.
The problem with mistreating reporters isn’t that it might hurt her with this or that voting bloc, or that it “plays into a narrative” she wants to avoid. It’s that reporters are there on the public’s behalf, and when you intentionally make it hard for them to do their jobs, you’re shortchanging the public you want to represent.
“To a degree, Candidate Clinton has a right to campaign however she wants?” Can someone explain when the emperor died and made Brother Waldman boss?
Earth to Waldman: You may not like the way some candidate conducts a campaign. You may have perfectly sensible reasons for the judgment you reach.
That said, every candidate has the right to campaign however he or she wants! A journalist can applaud or denounce those practices. But it’s amazing when journalists question a candidate’s right to campaign as she wants.
Even stranger is Waldman’s attitude toward his employment group:
Reporters are “the public’s representative?” Reporters “are there on the public’s behalf?”
Waldman almost seems to think that reporters at the Washington Post have been elected to office. Did that occur before or after they started promoting all the fake scandals to which he refers? When they created all those fake scandals, were Waldman’s colleagues doing that “on the public’s behalf?”
There is no lack of self-regard within the upper-end press corps. “I continue to be struck by the self-importance of the media.” So Joan Walsh wrote at Salon on June 2, in a piece where she avoided criticizing anyone by name.
This self-importance and self-dealing lie at the heart of our question today. Here’s what that question is:
Twenty years into the game, journalists are now alleging that the upper-end, mainstream press corps seems to hate Candidate Clinton. That said, these discussions are largely taking part at lower-level sites, out of the public’s view.
Is there any chance that this discussion will start migrating upward? For starters, will you ever see Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow conduct this important discussion on MSNBC, where many more people will hear it?
Last night, Maddow continued her embarrassing faux-coverage of the current campaign. Simply put, Maddow is currently conning her liberal viewers, presumably in a ratings search. There’s no other way to put it.
Hayes hasn’t been doing that. That said, on last night’s show, he chided the New York Times for its recent report about Candidate Rubio’s alleged overspending.
We’ll discuss that segment in our next post. But this means that Hayes has now vouched for the Times when it ran a giant scam aimed at Candidate Clinton, but has chided the Times for unfairness to Candidate Rubio!
The corporate-paid liberal world has played it that way for a very long time now. Will liberal viewers tolerate this ridiculous pattern for the next seventeen months?
Will Maddow, Hayes or Lawrence O’Donnell conduct the discussion we've described on MSNBC, from which point the discussion might even spread? In fairness, this would be a fairly hard play at The One True Liberal Channel, since two of its prime time hosts—O’Donnell and Chris Matthews—have been among the most destructive Clinton/Gore haters on the past twenty years.
(After 2008, Matthews completely flipped. Presumably, this was a business decision.)
For better or worse, people are dead all over the world because of Matthews’ disgraceful past conduct. Millionaire hosts on that corporate channel would have to thread a delicate needle if they did the obvious thing and let the discussion spread.
That said, we have a dream today. Our dream involves several figures, even including Gene Lyons.
Twenty years ago, Lyons tried to start this forbidden discussion. In 1996, he published Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater, a book about the bungled reporting in the Washington Post and the New York Times which created a decade of pseudo-scandal.
The book was published and promoted by Harper’s magazine, one of the greatest names in American publishing. The book had originated as an article in the October 1994 Harper’s—Fool for Scandal: How the Times got Whitewater Wrong.
Despite the lofty provenance of Lyons’ book, the book was widely ignored. From that day to this, the upper-end press corps has avoided the discussion which has finally started to bubble up from voices at Vox and Salon.
Will that discussion migrate upward to higher-profile platforms? We have a dream today:
Our dream is very hard to picture. But we can almost imagine Maddow and Hayes conducting that obvious, long-delayed discussion on their cable programs.
We can imagine them interviewing Lyons about the way this history started. We can imagine them interviewing Lyons and his co-author, Joe Conason, about the contents of their 2000 book, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton.
We can even imagine viewers being told about the press corps’ concomitant war against Candidate Gore, the war which sent Bush to the White House. Even after all these years, they could surely find someone who was able to discuss those remarkable, appalling events.
Can you imagine these discussions on The One True Liberal Channel? Can you imagine this discussion migrating upwards from Vox and Salon?
Can you imagine Yglesias being asked to discuss what he wrote? Can you imagine this discussion being conducted from a visible platform?
At Vox and Salon, we’re being told that the upper-end press corps hates Candidate Clinton. We’re being told that this apparent “intense dislike” has led the press to become consumed, down through the years, with “innumerable faux-scandals.”
We’re being told that the press corps’ “hatred” of Candidate Clinton is causing them to cover her campaign in ridiculous ways. But on The One True Liberal Channel, absolutely none of this is being discussed.
None at all.
Instead, Maddow continues to offer ludicrous, dumbed-down “campaign reporting” of the most worthless kind. Hayes chides the Times when it seems unfair to Candidate Rubio, hails it when it conducts a scam aimed at Candidate Clinton.
This is the way the liberal world has played it for the past twenty years. On the bright side, Maddow is paid $7 million per year for her incessant, low-IQ campaign clowning.
With President Walker waiting to serve, does that seem like such a good deal?
When will people like Maddow and Hayes let the discussion at Vox and Salon migrate upward into the sun? This discussion was forbidden during campaign 2000.
Are you happy with how that turned out?
Coming next: Hayes sinks the luxury speedboat
The bombshell report and the Swift boat ride: Lyons makes the comparison in his new column. For full perusal, click here.