EVER SO SLOWLY WE TURN: Voices begin to emerge at Salon!


Part 3—Elsewhere, the silence persists:
Was Matt Yglesias talking through some sort of partisan hat?

On June 1, Yglesias made the following statements at Vox. Trust us! The vast majority of American voters have never heard anything like this:
YGLESIAS (6/1/15): Journalists don't like Hillary Clinton.

But the press hates to admit this. 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 and then to muse on the fact that her ratings somehow manage to hold up despite these narratives.
“Among journalists, Clinton is one of the least popular politicians,” Yglesias wrote, a bit later in the same piece.

Is there any chance that his statements are actually accurate?

Please note. In itself, it doesn’t matter if major journalists don’t like Candidate Clinton. It only matters if their personal feelings show up in their work.

According to Yglesias, their personal feelings do color their work. According to Yglesias, even when Clinton gets good news, journalists treat it as “an opportunity to remind the public about [their] negative narratives” about the hopeful they hate.

Is there any chance that this assessment is accurate? It’s safe to say that most American voters have never heard such allegations, let alone seen them discussed.

Yglesias sounded off at Vox. By way of contrast, consider what the public hears from higher-ranking journalists writing at much larger news orgs.

As an example, consider what Gene Robinson wrote at the start of yesterday’s column in the Washington Post. Upbeat headline included:
ROBINSON (6/9/15): Republicans might as well pound sand

After months of trying to weaken Hillary Clinton by pounding her with everything they’ve got, the amount of progress Republicans have made is pretty close to zero.

The GOP seems to have forgotten the central fact about the Clintons: That which does not kill them makes them stronger.
As he continued, Robinson made a somewhat tortured claim. He said the “pounding” Clinton has taken in recent months hasn’t damaged her candidacy, despite some sagging poll numbers.

In our view, Robinson’s middle name seems to be Pollyanna. That said, we were struck by his account of where the “pounding” of Clinton has come from.

According to Robinson, the pounding of Clinton has come from one source. The pounding has come from “Republicans,” from “the GOP.”

Is Robinson’s basic statement true? Has the GOP been “pounding Clinton with everything they’ve got?”

At this point, we’d call that an exaggeration. But note whose conduct went down the memory hole as Robinson offered this this familiar standard account.

Without any question, Republicans have been pounding Clinton to some extent in recent months. In our view, a more remarkable pounding has come from a different source:

Starting at the time of her 2014 book tour, Clinton has also been pounded, often in rather unusual ways, by journalists at the Washington Post—by Robinson’s own newspaper! But by the ancient rules of the guild, such poundings will be disappeared by scripted employees like Robinson.

The pattern here is ancient. We’ve described this pattern again and again in our writings about Campaign 2000.

Alas! The journalistic patterns in that disastrous campaign were very similar to those which are emerging in our new endless race for the White House.

During that twenty-month campaign, journalists routinely engaged in a great pretense. They constantly pretended that the war they were waging against Candidate Gore was actually being waged by Gore’s “political opponents.”

What Yglesias said about Candidate Clinton was also true about Gore. But because of the code of silence maintained by major scribes like Robinson, few voters ever heard it said that a journalistic war was being waged against Gore.

On the higher journalistic levels, this code of silence persists to this very day. Elsewhere, though, behavior has started to change. Ever so slowly, liberal practice is starting to turn with respect to this code of silence.

Yglesias isn’t the only liberal scribe who has started dunking his toes in the stream of accurate statement. In 1999 and 2000, it was virtually impossible to read about the mainstream press corps’ manifest loathing of Candidate Gore—or about the disgraceful ways they were acting on their loathing.

Ever so slowly, the climate it is a-changin’. Yglesias has hardly been alone in his recent conduct at Vox. Complaints have also begun to emerge among political scribes at Salon.

Last Saturday, Salon's Andrew O’Hehir described himself as “morbidly fascinated with the Hillary Clinton campaign and its dysfunctional relationship with the news media.”

As he continued,
O’Hehir heightened his description of the situation. In the process, he named three colleagues who have found fault with the work of the press in this area:
O’HEHIR (6/6/15): 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, and appears determined to cover her 2016 campaign (which is a historic event by any measure, love her or hate her) as a story of low-rent Freudian conflict between the candidate and the press corps. Maybe that’s really how the reporters for Politico and Slate and the big dailies experience their interaction with her campaign; I wouldn’t know. It’s evidently what they believe will be most illuminating and entertaining to their readers.
Is it true that “the political media” is locked in a “mutual hatred with Hillary Clinton”—has been so engaged for a long time? We’ll promise you that very few voters have ever heard any such claim.

O’Hehir linked to reports by the three colleagues he named. And dear lord! On June 3, his colleague Newell had even named a pair of high-ranking names!
NEWELL (6/3/15): The natural order of Clinton press coverage is this: The Clinton campaign and its allies absolutely hate the press and will try to deny it as much information as possible; the press, when given information from the Clinton campaign, will write dumb things about it.

This is true of the relationship between most major politicians and the press, but it reaches comical new frontiers of mutual trolling when Hillary Clinton is involved.


Now, on to the political press corps: what do they do with the information that they are given? The Clinton campaign announced earlier this week that it would hold its first rally on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Time to bitch about how inaccessible Roosevelt Island is! NBC News’ Luke Russert tweeted that the island is “only accessible by tram, subway and bridge from Long Island City.”

Only three ways to get there, folks. What is with these Clintons?

Meanwhile, no less a figure than “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, who is supposed to be the sage political mind at NBC News, shared this extraordinarily asinine commentary Tuesday morning:
Breaking every rule in the book, Newell named two high-ranking names—Russert and Todd. He then posted a chunk of Todd’s “asinine commentary” and proceeded to critique it.

Ever so slowly, the weather has turned for those who still read Salon. In recent weeks, they’ve seen allegations of poisonous conduct by the press corps toward Candidate Clinton.

Some Salon readers resent these claims, thinking they cut against Candidate Sanders. But if you still read that publication, you’ve started to hear widespread complaints alleging “long-term hatred” toward Candidate Clinton from the mainstream press.

You will never read such things in a column by Robinson. Nor are you likely to hear such allegations discussed on The One True (Corporate) Liberal Channel, where Robinson, Todd and Russert are all high-ranking employees or contributors.

Liberal conduct has started to change, but it’s changing ever so slowly. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the things you’ll never hear in columns at the Washington Post—or when you watch the endless, disgraceful campaign clowning which is now a regular part of the increasingly ridiculous Maddow Show.

Conservatives trash the mainstream press. At our highest ranking news orgs, our most influential liberals still disappear its conduct.

The electorate is thus gravely misled. Ever so slowly we turn!

Tomorrow: The well-informed people you’ll never see on your liberal TV machine thingy


  1. Clinton has long had a difficult relationship with the press. When she first moved to the White House in 1993, after Bill Clinton became president, she ordered the corridor that gave reporters access to the West Wing to be blocked off, “effectively locking the world’s most important (and self-important) press corps in the White House cellar,” as Carl Bernstein wrote in his biography of Clinton. The decision was soon reversed.

    1. Carl Bernstein has long been a friend of the Clintons -- NOT! Anything coming from him is suspect because he has engaged in regular hit pieces against them. This kind of gossip is a good example of the crap he dishes out.

    2. @12;52 - where in VF Heard's comment is "Carl Bernstein has long been a friend of the Clintons"?


    3. He cited Bernstein uncritically as a source without acknowledging Bernstein's animosity and prior role in attacks on Clinton.

    4. Please acknowledge your role or lack of them in prior attacks on other commenters.

    5. @8:03 - so, in other words, you're just making sh*t up.

  2. Bob seems to want the media to write fawning PR about Hillary. I love her and support her 100%, but what planet is Bob on?

    1. Somerby wants the press to write balanced meaningful commentary about Clinton's policies, as they should be doing for all of the declared candidates. Nowhere and at no time has he called for fawning PR.

    2. Always glad to have The Amazing Kreskin, aka Geoff, and Carnac the Magnificent, aka Anonymous June 10, 2015 at 12:54 PM, check in and tell those of us aren't psychics what the blogger's desires really are.

    3. So it's ok ffor geoff to say what Bob seems to want, but not ok to say what he wants?

    4. Somerby generally says what he wants. Repeating that is hardly mind reading.

    5. One can make suppositions based on the millions upon millions of often-repetitive words Bob has devoted to a handful of topics. No clairvoyance necessary.

    6. "On balance, we'd say that Somerby generally seems to say what he seems to want, but no one can really say for sure."

      FTFY - you're welcome.

  3. Clinton has been in DC a long time but has never become part of the DC establishment. Her tense relationship with the press and her scorn for its self celebrations like WH Correspondents Dinner prove that unlike every other politician in DC she refuses to suck up to the Washington establishment. Her remark to her late friend, Diane Blair, that media figures "have big egos and small brains" further underscores this fact.

    Blair wrote: May 19, 1993: [Saint Hillary piece by Michael Kelley is published]. HRC says press has big ego’s and no brains and they’re just going to have to work them better; that her staff has figured it out and would be glad to teach BC’s staff (but still tension between them).

    1. Hey, I've never been plagiarized before. I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted, but your first paragraph repeats verbatim a section of a comment I made on an earlier post. There's a plagiarist among us! Maybe Rand Paul!

    2. Then you recognize yourself as one of the Very Few who have Heard.

    3. June 10, 2015 at 3:40 PM,

      How do we know you're not VF Heard, or that VF Heard is not June 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM or that you're not VF Heard and June 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM, or that neither of you are June 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM?

    4. "We" don't. That's why we just can't say. It seems that it might be one of the possibilities, but there's no way of telling.

  4. I think the Triple Crown mania has infected the political pundits.
    All too often we hear her "friends" say, "It doesn't matter if the charges against the Clintons are true or not, Hillary is losing the trust of the American people."
    Today's Benson toon:

    1. Ebbinghaus - Retention As a Function of the Number of Repetitions:

      "The effect of increasing the number of repetitions of series of syllables on their inner fixedness in the above defined sense grew at first approximately in proportion to the number of repetitions, then that effect decreased gradually, and finally became very slight when the series were so deeply impressed that they could be repeated after 24 hours, almost spontaneously. Since this decrease must be considered, gradual and continuous, its beginning would, in more accurate investigations, probably have become evident even within the limits within which we found a proportionality, whereas no it is hidden on account of its small amount and the wide limits of error."

    2. Ebbinghaus studied retention of nonsense syllables.

  5. Hmmm. IMO, the news media tries to help the Bushes, any Bush. So, its not that they didn't like Al Gore or don't like HIllary Clinton so much as that they want to help the Bushes. Old Bush is portrayed as the sweetest old guy with his funny socks. This week I keep seeing a link to a story about his love letters to Barbara during WWII. Thats intended to help Jeb.

    In 2013, Jeb had written a book and he was on all 5 of the Sunday talk shows. Thats when I knew he'd be running for president and the media was all on board with it. He'd been out of office like 6 or 7 years and no one was going to read that book. The news of the week was Jeb Bush writing a book?

    How many Bush family retainers are larded throughout the major media? Stephanopoulos owes everything he's got to the Clintons and he should never have been allowed to do that Clinton Cash interview. But there must be a lot more Bush family retainers.

    1. Rarely is it ever asked, "Is our dumbest ex-president earning".

      Since 2009, POLITICO has found, Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches and probably many more, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance. The part-time work, which rarely requires more than an hour on stage, has earned him tens of millions of dollars. Relative to the Clintons, though, he's attracted considerably less attention, almost always doing his paid public speaking in private, in convention centers and hotel ballrooms, resorts and casinos, from Canada to Asia, from New York to Miami, from all over Texas to Las Vegas a bunch, playing his part in what has become a lucrative staple of the modern post-presidency.
      ******************** http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/on-talk-circuit-george-bush-makes-millions-but-few-waves-118697.html

      Hmmm, is that appropriate? Isn't there a terrible ugly appearance of piggish greed involved? What about Jeb(!). Should his own brother be allowed to gobble up the
      obscene speaking fees? While he is running for POTUS?

  6. Gene Robinson is another useless villager. He will do nothing to jeopardize his permanent chair on morning Joe. I personally can't stand reading or watching him anymore. To this useless waste of space, the Clintons are just a punch line.

  7. The media, they hate her the most, okay? They hate her.... And even the most respected journalists said, you know, ‘Oh, the Clintonian penchant for secrecy is back.’ They have Clinton PTSD from the last Clinton presidency. They are done with her.

    1. Don't you understand, these "reporters" are not interested in listening to her major policy proposals in her speeches. They are all dying to be the one to get their gotcha 30 second spot on the network evening news by sticking a mic in her face and breaking the BENGHAZI!!!!!!! untold story, or win a Pulitzer by trapping her into confessing that she used a personal email account to hide her treasonous acts from ever seeing the light of day. The political press in this country by and large is made up of ridiculous clowns. Chuck Todd is the top guy at NBC - that's how sad the state of affairs is.

    2. I understand you find it hard to resist offering your invaluable opinion and displaying your large vocabulary of juvenile insults.

    3. What is it that you are doing?

    4. He/She/It's finding it hard, too.

    5. Until we determine if it is not just a point in time from yesterday does gender really matter?

  8. "You will never read such things in a column by Robinson." Somerby

    "I'm sorry, but if you think Hillary Clinton is getting an easy ride from the media, you must not actually be reading the coverage. Or the commentary. If you want to demonstrate liberal bias, you're going to have to find some other test case.


    The Post wrote one front-page story about Romney's teenage bullying and one front-page story about Columba Bush's shopping habits. The Post has run run how many front-page stories about those Clinton topics? Certainly hundreds. Puh-leeze."

    Eugene Robinson
    Not from a column. Just an on line chat.


  9. "Nor are you likely to hear such allegations discussed on The One True (Corporate) Liberal Channel, where Robinson, Todd and Russert are all high-ranking employees or contributors." Somerby


    "Former secretary of state and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,who has had a rocky relationship with the press in the past, will present a prestigious journalism award in late March.

    Clinton has had a famously difficult relationship with the press, and the address to journalists could serve as an olive branch to reporters as the former secretary of state prepares for an increasingly likely presidential run.

    When she moved into the White House, Clinton sealed off the corridor that allowed reporters to access the West Wing (the move was later overturned) and then fought battle after battle with press as they investigated alleged scandals in the White House. During her presidential campaign, Clinton allies believed the press was in the tank for Barack Obama, and press handers were known to yell at and insult reporters. “Look, she hates you. Period. That’s never going to change,” one unnamed Clinton veteran told Politico last year."


    1. "....fought battle after battle with press as they investigated alleged scandals in the White House..."

      Well, that is a fascinating description of the history, to say the least. To say the most, it is preposterous.

    2. Comment of the Day from gpowell1066 @ MoJo:

      "Hillary faces an initial task that is unique among the candidates. She must first remember where all the bodies are buried, disinter them, drive the remains to a local cement plant, and make sure the evidence is completely gone. Only then can she start worrying about policy positions."

  10. I am sorry Somerby used this valuable post to promote Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.

    He has a demonstrated history of deep textbook loathing despite having all the advantages. His mother was a well-known poet and a Mills College professor. After growing up in the Bay Area, he graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1984.

    O’Hehir grew up with all the advantages. This seems to have produced a classic tribal hater. He’s amazed by all the hate he sees or imagines among The Others. But he can’t see the hate in himself, or in others within his own tribe.

    The tribal player will always be proud of his own massive ignorance. The plutocrats love this prehistoric practice. The one percent loves it when we do this! In the day, Ole Massa’s next generation invented our country’s basic way of dividing the 99 percent.

    1. Definitely something to meditate on.

    2. O'Hehir exhibits the classic traits of being a successful person in America. We most certainly must loathe him for this transgression.

    3. We suggest you read O’Hehir’s essay for one specific reason. Read it to see how easily we can see or imagine the “hate” in The Others while completely ignoring the hate which exists over here in our tribe.

      We've divided and conquered ourselves this way ever since we crawled from the slime.

    4. @ 9:51 AM - classic GOP framing.

      They say "urban subculture", we say "racist dogwhistle", they say "there goes the libs r-bombing again instead of discussing why blacks have no morality." You're at the "r-bomb" phase with this comment.

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