Just look at the very first comment: In this new post, Paul Krugman speaks up, much too late, about the "abnormalization" of Candidate Clinton.
This "defining" of Clinton has been underway for 24 years. Krugman quotes the heroic Jonathan Chait, who actively enabled this game during the vast bulk of that era, but has begun fighting back in the past week or so:
KRUGMAN (9/26/16): [A]s Jonathan Chait says, the problem hasn’t just been the normalization of Trump, it has been the abnormalization of Clinton. Consider the AP report on the Clinton Foundation. An honest report would have said, “The foundation arguably creates the possibility of self-dealing and undue influence, but we’ve looked hard and haven’t found much of anything.” Instead, the report played up meetings with a Nobel Peace Prize winner as being somehow scandalous."Pick you analogy," Krugman says. In the case of Campaign 2000, just don't discuss it with the public until sixteen to seventeen years have passed!
And it’s still happening, if not quite so relentlessly. We’re still seeing reports about how something Clinton did “raises questions,” “casts shadows,” etc.—weasel words that allow reporters to write negative stories regardless of the facts.
I’ve compared this to what went down in the 2000 campaign; Nick [Kristof] compares it to what happened in the runup to the Iraq war. Pick your analogy.
Two points should be made. First, the abnormalization of Clinton involves much more serious journalistic dysfunction than the normalization of Trump.
Newspapers like the New York Times have been running from Trump's craziness and/or dishonesty, dating to the period when he made himself King of the Birthers. But the "abnormalization" of Clinton, Clinton and Gore has been going on forever. Hillary Clinton has been massively "defined" in the process. It is many years too late to notice this problem now.
Second point: The very first comment to Krugman's post shows the problem with Krugman's permissive "pick your analogy" hook. Comments like these should make a progressive tear his or her last remaining hairs:
COMMENT FROM WALTHAM, MASS. (9/26/16): A thoughtful, nuanced post by Krugman. I still think a large part of the double standard applied to Hillary is due to misogyny. Or, more accurately, the power-relationship between men and women. This pushy broad is intruding on a formerly all-male preserve. I don't think most people realize how deeply this anti-feminist instinct runs in most men.Pseudo-progressive, please!
Yes, it is an instinct, and an ancient one at that. Today, we can see resistance to women's progress in many parts of the world. In the Islamic culture sphere, it is often violent.
I'm sure I'll get intensely defensive replies from male readers to this comment, as I have in the past. But they only serve to confirm me in my understanding of this issue.
In a word, that comment is deeply clueless. It's the kind of perspective a progressive adopts when he lacks the first freaking clue about the journalistic history here—for example, about what "went down" in Campaign 2000, Krugman's chosen analogy.
The abnormalization of Candidate Gore had nothing to do with gender, but it's the same abnormalization which has been delivered to Hillary Clinton. Self-admiring pseudo-progressives insist on cramming this conduct into the high-minded frameworks they like. Their cluelessness about the larger picture stems from twenty years of silence from the likes of Krugman and Chait.
Once again, Krugman cites "the Clinton Rules" in today's post. It's good that he does so, of course. But those journalistic rules have been in operation forever. People like that first commenter have simply never been told.
Here's how Krugman closes his post. This too is deeply clueless:
KRUGMAN: I doubt that reporters or even editors have thought of themselves as trying to elect Trump; many of them will be horrified if he wins. But they went all in on Clinton Rules, under which sneering at and razzing a Clinton is considered good for your career. It’s really more like high school than high journalism, but it may have horrendous consequences.History will not forgive the people who made it possible? Press corps enabler, please!
A lot depends on whether the same behavior continues for the final stretch. If the media report on the debates the way they did in 2000—if substance is replaced by descriptions of Clinton’s facial expressions, her sighs, or how she “comes across,” while downplaying Trump’s raw lies, say hello to the Trump White House. And history will not forgive the people who made it possible.
As we explained many years ago, the mainstream press corps is unique among American elites. Unlike every other professional or industry group, the mainstream press corps gets to decide what gets written about itself.
For that reason, the press corps' conduct in Campaign 2000 has gone completely unexplored and undiscussed, despite the many years we spent detailing it. The Clinton Rules may have horrendous consequences? Careerist cracker, please! As we've noted again and again, they already have!
Perhaps the horrors of a President Trump will produce a break in the press corps' ironclad code of silence, which is reliably maintained by the usual professors. But we can think of no reason to assume that any such thing will occur.
People like Krugman and Kristof and Chait have always made the smart career play over the many years of this mess. Their active role in the code of silence has us on the verge of an era of Trump.
Fearful, they've finally started telling the truth. But they've told the truth extremely slowly over these many ridiculous years. If history stands on its feet to complain, it will complain about them.