The Times gets into the act: Finally, the New York Times found a way to get into the act.
In the past month, the Washington Post has staged a jihad about Hillary Clinton’s deeply troubling speaking fees. As we’ve noted, the New York Times had almost completely ignored the topic.
This morning, that changed. The Times has found its way into the chase—and her name is Chelsea Clinton.
Chelsea Clinton gets speaking fees too! Headline included, this is the way the news report by Amy Chozick started. Please note the highlighted point:
CHOZICK (7/10/14): Following Her Parents’ Lead, Chelsea Clinton Takes Stage as a Paid SpeakerChelsea Clinton’s speaking fees all go to the Clinton Foundation. We asked you to take note of that point, because, just by the rules of the game, it’s likely that no one else will.
There is a new Clinton paid to deliver speeches—Chelsea, the former first daughter—and she is commanding as much as $75,000 per appearance.
Aides emphasized that while Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton often address trade groups and Wall Street bankers, Ms. Clinton, now 34, focuses on organizations whose goals are in line with the work of the family’s philanthropic organization, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Organizers said her star power helped sell tickets and raise money.
And unlike her parents’ talks, Ms. Clinton’s speeches “are on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, and 100 percent of the fees are remitted directly to the foundation,” said her spokesman, Kamyl Bazbaz, adding that “the majority of Chelsea’s speeches are unpaid.”
To our eye, this looks like a clever route into a “story” the Times no longer wants to ignore. Chelsea Clinton commands the headline today, but Chozick quickly branches off, discussing the very large speaker fees hauled in by Chelsea’s parents.
She also notes the deep concern about the way Hillary Clinton has taken speaking fees for speeches at universities. The kids are upset, she reports.
Several points are worth noting in Chozick’s news report. As we’ve explained for the past fifteen years, Chozick was required by law to promulgate this misdirection concerning the ongoing jihad against Hillary Clinton:
CHOZICK: Political rivals have said the six-figure fees make Mrs. Clinton out of touch with average working Americans. America Rising, an anti-Clinton “super PAC,” has called on the Clinton Foundation to release additional information about how much of the money is donated and how it is being used by the foundation.Have “political rivals” been making that statement? That's certainly true to some extent, but it’s grossly misleading, It hides the fact that this jihad has mainly been an artifact of the Washington Post and certain cable multimillionaires.
Please remember the basic law: Whenever the press corps gins up a story about some disfavored pol, the story must always be attributed to that pol’s “political rivals!”
(In this case, Gloria Vanderbilt’s son thinks Clinton may have too much money. So does Diane Sawyer, who “earns” $20 million per year.)
One other part of the Chozick report is simply pathetic and sad. The analysts had to avert their gaze when the Chozick offered this:
CHOZICK: Ms. Clinton has not ruled out running for office, and her schedule provides plenty of opportunities to hone her public speaking skills. She can sometimes sound overly cerebral. During Q. and A. sessions, she casually employs words like “vituperative” and “NCD” (short for noncommunicable disease) that can befuddle audiences.“Vituperative!” This very long word is too cerebral for the New York Times! According to Chozick, it can befuddle an audience!
In that passage, you see the low regard in which the Times seems to hold the public. Just in case you hadn’t been able to notice that problem before.
At any rate, the Times had been ignoring this topic, even as the Washington Post had marched its whole staff off to war.
At the Times, someone may have decided that stance had to change. Chelsea’s deeply troubling fees gave the Times its way in.
The way we were: Back in 1997, the establishment press corps was still in love with their favorite, General Powell.
In 1995, a string of major pundits had practically begged him to run for president against the vile Bill Clinton. Perhaps that’s why they weren’t upset by reporting like this:
ABRAMSON (11/28/97): Political figures themselves are still in demand as paid speakers, in part because they continue to bring a celebrity aura to industry conventions and corporate gatherings. Former Presidents like George Bush, and such luminaries as Gen. Colin L. Powell, still command speaking fees well into six figures. The Keppler Agency has had little trouble booking Bob Dole, known for his wit as an after-dinner speaker, or former Vice President Dan Quayle, who is making speeches to earn money as well as to increase his visibility before an expected run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000.Was Powell “commanding fees well into six figures” seventeen years ago? We don’t know, but when he signed on as secretary of state, the Washington Post reported his healthy net worth:
The Washington Speakers Bureau, the best-known booker of speakers in the circuit, recently added a new political star to its stable of clients, former Prime Minister John Major of Britain. Executives of the agency did not return repeated phone calls.
MUFSON (1/18/01): Gen. Colin L. Powell has amassed a fortune of at least $27.3 million since he retired from military service seven years ago, thanks largely to speaking fees that last year alone brought in $ 6.7 million from a variety of corporations, trade associations and universities, according to his financial disclosure forms.Don't forget to adjust for inflation! Back then, no one got the students upset about the fees Powell received at those colleges. You see, Powell was a major insider favorite. He was known to be good man.
Capitalizing on his charisma and the reputation he built as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, Powell has been delivering an average of eight to 10 speeches a month, usually receiving $ 59,500 each, even from small colleges. The biggest fees last year were paid by financial services firms Credit Suisse Group, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., American Express Co., Investcorp and Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services, and such companies as Auto Zone Inc.—an automobile parts chain—and Coca-Cola Co. Each of those firms paid Powell more than $100,000, Powell disclosed.
A number of educational institutions also paid substantial fees to hear Powell. They included Seton Hall University, Middlesex Community College, Rochester College, College of the Ozarks, Rollins College, the University of Oklahoma, City University of New York (Powell's alma mater), Principia College, Miami University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Two years later, he took a big pile of nonsense to the U.N. and they even swooned about that! When Rachel Maddow interviewed Powell in 2009, she forgot to ask the great man how that disaster happened.
In other words, none of Powell’s “political rivals” thought he might be out of touch. By way of contrast, Hillary Clinton’s “political rivals” are worried about that this year.