All this week: The culture of “horrible coverage!”

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014

Also, the culture of silence: If Hillary Clinton runs for president, she may well get her party’s nomination.

If she does, is she “destined to get horrible coverage” from the mainstream press corps?

Last Friday, Mark Halperin made that prediction on Morning Joe—and he stressed the word “horrible.” Three days earlier, he had made a similar statement on the same program.

For fuller background, see this morning’s post.

We’ll look at last Tuesday’s Morning Joe in tomorrow’s principal post. For now, here are some excerpts from Halperin’s statements that day:
HALPERIN (7/22/14): She’s lost control of her public image. It’s the worst thing that can happen to someone thinking of running for president.


She has a lot of positive attributes that are currently just being overwhelmed by all this negative coverage. And it’s going to keep going. The momentum, there’s, there’s— The press loves to cover her hard.
As we’ll see, the other Morning Joe pundits feigned incomprehension concerning the reasons for the negative coverage. But according to Halperin:

“The negative coverage is going to keep going...The press loves to cover her hard.”

As we noted this morning, those are very unusual statements from a press insider. Beyond that, it seems to us that Halperin’s predictions and statements make sense.

All this week, we’ll explore the ways the other pundits on Morning Joe reacted to Halperin’s statements. This involves the culture of horrible coverage, a culture extending back many years.

But it also involves the culture of press corps silence.

As you’ll see, the other pundits feigned incomprehension about the reasons for this “horrible coverage.” Other journalists did the same thing in October and November 1999, when Howard Kurtz asked two different pundit panels why Candidate Gore was attracting so much “harsh coverage and punditry.”

Guess what, marks? Big pundits always feign incomprehension when challenged about their conduct. And just so you’ll know, this culture of silence extends all the way down to your favorite liberal stars.

Your darling Rachel will never tell you the things we’ll be telling you all this week. Chris Hayes has a horrible tendency to start reciting mainstream narratives when people like Susan Rice or Hillary Clinton start getting trashed by the powers that be.

Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews? They were major players in the two-year war against Candidate Gore. In part for such reasons, other career liberals simply can’t tell you the history of those years.

Drum and Dionne understand the history, but there’s little chance they will ever discuss it. You will not hear from your favorite players in the career liberal world.

All week, we’ll discuss that prediction of “horrible coverage” for a Candidate Clinton. We’ll also discuss the culture of silence which has obtained for all these years, dating to Kurtz’s dumbfounded panels in 1999.

In our supplemental posts, we’ll look at other horrible journalism coming from some of our fiery liberals. Good lord, our work can be poor!

For many years, the liberal world was essentially silent. In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, the liberal web began taking form.

Now, liberal and progressive voices are widely, easily heard. Sometimes, we wonder if progressive values were better served when we all kept quiet.

Starting in March 1999, Candidate Gore was treated to twenty months of “horrible coverage.” In the main, that coverage came from the mainstream press corps, not from the RNC.

To state the obvious, that horrible coverage sent Bush to the White House. Halperin says it could happen again.

To watch those Morning Joe discussions: Last week, Morning Joe panels staged two discussions of Hillary Clinton’s press coverage.

We thought Mike Barnacle was the star of last Tuesday’s discussion. We’ll discuss his comments on Wednesday. To watch that whole segment, click here.

On Friday, Halperin made his prediction. To watch that segment, click this.


  1. Why not try writing Chapter 7 in your "spare time" and pass on yet another series here on 1999-2000 and the liberal villains still among us?
    I think all of you existing readers have read and get your point.

    On second thought, perhaps there is a silent sinner from the bitter winter of '99 or a treacherous snake from the summer of 2000 we havent yet been asked to hate in 2014.

    1. Does this kind of negativity make what Somerby is saying any less true? If this topic bores you, you don't have to be here. There are plenty of people for whom this is new information.

      Or do you just prefer that everyone hate Hillary Clinton instead of those trying to take her down before she even declares as a candidate?

    2. "There are plenty of people for whom this is new information"

      Yep. Like the computer spammer directly below.

    3. Shucks. Somebody pulled the spammer.

    4. Does "all week" mean we never get to find out the answer to the burning question "Is Alexandra Petri a twit?"

  2. OMB ( Feigning with...Feigning With...the Feigning OTB)

    "As we’ll see, the other Morning Joe pundits feigned incomprehension concerning the reasons for the negative coverage. ....

    As you’ll see, the other pundits feigned incomprehension about the reasons for this “horrible coverage....

    Big pundits always feign incomprehension when challenged about their conduct." BOB today

    "We thought Mike Barnacle was the star of last Tuesday’s discussion."

    Gene Robinson (feigning incomprehension while responding to a question including a suggestion from Ms. Mika B. that Clinton should have made a feminist boast out of her high speaking fees):

    That certainly would have been a better line than the one she's taken...and pretend that she's not making all that money, which she is.

    Julie Pace (feigning incomrehension while responding to BOBstar Mike Barnicle's direct question on negative press for Clinton):

    I think that in terms of the coverage of her wealth in particular we have to remember that a lot of this goes back to the way that she responded to the question.

    Sorry BOB. Some might suggest that rather than feigning incomprehension, the two guests nailed the problem right on its head.

    "We were broke" said the lady of those horrid days of her dumpster diving with a multi-million book contract in hand and a U.S. Senate campaign on the ground. BOB feigned his incomprehension and vowed to ignore how boneheaded a remark this was and how utterly clueless it showed Hillary Rodham Clinton to be.


    1. I might not call her "utterly clueless," but I might call her utterly unprepared for such questions as she launches her book tour for a tome that payed her an eight-figure advance.

      After all, her book tour was the reason she was making the rounds of these vile, evil, tricky media types like Diane Sawyer and Terry Gross.

    2. This is the meme this discussion is intended to promote. Clinton is unprepared, utterly clueless and cannot control her own image and thus how will she be able to control congress, the government or the country?

    3. Then I would urge Hillary to avoid feeding it.

      But please assist me if you will be so kind. Exactly when and by whom was it decided this will be the "meme"? Before or after "dead broke"?

    4. The "meme" against Bill in 1992 was lying, womanizing draft dodger who made a secret trip to Russia.

      How on earth did he overcome that?

  3. KZ, their liabilities exceeded their assets. They urgently needed to earn money.

    1. "We've done well, Diane" said Clinton in a deft remark interrupting an effort by the ex-Nixon aide at ABC trying to divert her interview to a discussion about the personal wealth the couple accumulated after Bill left the White House.

      SAWYER: But do you think Americans will understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?

      CLINTON : We've done well. I think the American people are more interested in policy questions.

      ( We had a better answer to this once. Unlike BOB, we never repeat...until we do.)


    2. Well, 5:28, they urgently earned it. Very fast. While giving it all way to charity.

    3. Few are they who are always at the ready with the exact right comment while ever exuding the "just plain folks" aura that quicken our progressive hearts whenever we gape in wonder at a Barack Obama or a Rachel Maddow. Woe unto their critics and all pretenders.

      Don't feel like you have to repeat yourself on this again in the next fifty threads. At this point nearly all of us take your point and are storing it in as special of a place as we've reserved for those Gottfried Aflac commercials.

    4. KZ, an even more down-to-earth answer might be this.

      SAWYER (with me paraphrasing): But can people understand speaking fees that are five times the annual median income?

      HILLARY: Probably not. But that's what they are paying, and I'd be an idiot not to take it.

      I think the so-called "average" voter could relate to that, much as they continue to relate to athletes signing nine-figure contracts.

    5. Indeed, Anon. @ 8: 24. We previously suggested she throw in movie stars and tv news stars as well.

      Or she simply could have answered:

      HILLARY: Yes. I think the American people understand much more than a few give them credit for.

      Many things would have been preferable than the "dead broke"opening comment and the defensive answer she gave when a question finally came.


  4. Do you know why big pundits did what they did in '99?

    1. The spammer is gone again. As new readers, they just don't want to answer the question

  5. But KZ will tell you that what she said, even if actually correct, was far, far more stupid than Obama saying small town people "cling to guns and religion," or having an economic adviser tell Canadian officials, accurately as it turns out, that his locally-popular NAFTA trashing during the Ohio primary was just campaigning and didn't represent real policy.

    It is impossible -- literally impossible -- for any national candidate today to avoid saying something that oppo research, especially the massively funded Republican oppo research, can yank out of context or even re-word to sound bad. It's time for some people to grow up.

    1. Even though his powers of prognostication might be a bit fuzzy, our friend has hit on the key issue in his second paragraph.

      Yes, all candidates will say things that "oppo research" will "yank out of context or even re-word to sound bad." The trick is not to help them.

      "Dead broke and in debt" was not the answer to a trick question taken out of context or even re-worded. And even Jon Stewart had great fun with it with his "Poor-Off" between Hillary and Biden.

      Hillary then given a second chance, said "we pay ordinary taxes unlike certain other people." Well, no you don't if you can stash some of your income in a 501 (c) 3 foundation.

      It also helps if what you say has the ring of truth and isn't totally self-serving. The Republicans went so far as to make "You didn't build that" the theme of their entire convention. But Obama's meaning was clear when he picked up that theme from Elizabeth Warren.

      Yes, it takes initiative, capital and hard work to build a successful business. But it also takes the infrastructure that taxpayers, through their governments, put into place.

      Don't know who these "some people" are who need to "grow up," but it is my opinion that lots of voters understood that very well, which is why that theme flopped.

      That, and the fact that Obama fought back very well.

    2. We agree with most of your point about urban legend's second paragraph Anon. @ 8:13 but would not call him a "fuzzy" prognosticator. He might even be accurate about what we tell ourselves or how we would respond to a direct question calling for us to compare which was worse, "dead broke" or "clinging to guns and religion."

      We will tell you this: The whole "Dead broke" comment was one of those defensive "poor me" statements which never come to a good end for the person who makes them. Unlike "creating the internet" and "clinging to guns and religion" it did not come from an answer to a question.

      We also haven't been asked a question. Given the hints of feelings still running deep in the average BOBfan, we think invoking 2008, and particularly the 2008 primaries, is not the best idea for us.


    3. Then is it OK to invoke the one in between? The 2004 Democratic primary?

      I'm curious as to how the press chose Kerry for us.

    4. Kerry was not a Clinton or a Gore. Kerry did not run against a Clinton or a Gore. Therefor in 2004 the press corps took a pass and concentrated on not covering black children.

  6. Many, many years ago there was a cartoon in Nat Lamp. A man, overcome by shock and emotion, stared wildly at his TV Screen: "Look, that man told others not to squeeze the Charmn, and now he's dong the very same thing!!"
    Or as the kids today would say, "haters gonna hate."
    I guess Bob operates with a sort of "Never Again" (war on Gore) meme,
    but does anyone seriously think the above, along with the rest of the Hil baiting that we've seen so far, is really going to have much impact? Does anyone serious think Mark Halprin is anything but a reactionary partisan with yet another dubious volume for the Hillary Hate Shelf? How many years has NBC and it's under stations been trying to pass off Mike Barnacle as your no nonsense working class buddy? How long would you have to ask passers by on the street before you hit somebody who knows who the hell he is? Whatever. Lots of terrible, complex, and heartbreaking stuff is going on right now, and it's not the kind of thing The Daily Howler normally dips into. But couldn't he of at least taken a crack at the I.R.S. "scandal" instead of all this premature hilljaculatio?

    1. Yes, I seriously think that Clinton will receive the same sexist treatment by the press as she did during the 2008 primaries.

    2. Yes. She was defeated by that unqualified African- Hawaiian fellow because, as a woman, she was forced to support Bush on AMF due to the double standards. And Obambi probably would have voted Present. And if he was a white man he never would have stood a chance.

    3. 1041, of course She will. And no one will much care. The crudity and ruthlessness of The Clinton's critics has often worked in their favor. Not always, but often.