It happens every fourth spring: On Monday, we’ll start our “spring training” preview of the coverage of the 2016 campaign.
We’ll focus on the likely coverage of Hillary Clinton. We’ll consider the challenge this likely coverage will likely present to Democrats, progressives and liberals.
For today, let’s loosen up the old throwing arm with a pair of news reports. One report concerns Candidate Walker. One concerns Candidate Clinton.
Good lord! Two weeks ago, the analysts thought that our past efforts with Patrick Healy were producing those good results. He discussed Clinton coverage, past and future, in a piece in the New York Times.
We’ll look at that piece next week.
Alas! On the front page of this morning’s Times, Brother Healy has rather plainly fallen off the wagon. He gives us the dope on Candidate Walker. Sadly, incredibly, he starts his piece like this:
HEALY (3/21/15): Out on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker has left “Wiscahnsin” back home in Wisconsin. He now wants to strengthen the economy, not the “ecahnahmy.” And while he once had the “ahnor” of meeting fellow Republicans, he told one group here this week that he simply enjoyed “talkin’ with y’all.”Good God! In a classic relapse pattern, Healy pretends to analyze changes in the candidate’s accent.
The classic Upper Midwest accent—nasal and full of flat a’s—is one of several Walker trademarks to have fallen away this month after an intense period of strategizing and coaching designed to help Mr. Walker capitalize on his popularity in early polls and show that he is not some provincial politician out of his depth.
He is tailoring his pitch to his audiences—wearing pullover sweaters in earth-tone colors in one early primary state, New Hampshire, and discussing the power of prayer in another, here in South Carolina. He has reined in his rambling speeches, at least compared with his recorded remarks over the years. He is trying to listen more and opine less, associates say, and he is easygoing with voters—a contrast with his pugilistic reputation from his successful battle against Wisconsin labor unions, which made him a hero to many conservatives.
Even more amazingly, the wearing of earth tones is back!
Could someone possibly intervene and get this man to a meeting? As usual, Healy never explains what the wearing of earth tones is meant to convey. We’re simply expected to see it as a fiendish piece of packaging.
Regarding the accent:
On line, Healy provides videotape purporting to show the way the candidate has changed the pronunciation of his own home state. If you can discern the fiendish change, your ears are better than ours.
For the record, Healy’s “N” is exactly 1. He offers exactly one example of this fiendish change!
Patrick Healy is back on the sauce—and with him, so is the Times. In this kind of brain-damaged work, major reporters achieve their two greatest goals in life:
They pretend they’re providing the inside dope about the character flaws of the slippery candidate. More importantly, they avoid discussing matters of substance, their one greatest goal on this earth.
Healy’s face down in a ditch today. Is that Maureen Dowd beside him?
Brother Healy is dishing the dope about the slippery Candidate Walker. In Thursday morning’s Boston Globe, Annie Linskey performed the same service with respect to the fiendish Candidate Clinton.
Linskey’s piece is a poorly-argued editorial in the form of a news report. Through a series of winks and nods, she tells us it was wrong, oh so wrong, for Clinton to give a paid speech Thursday night.
Clinton spoke to a worrisome group: The American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, a disturbing assembly whose board of directors “includes representatives from charitable groups like The Fresh Air Fund, a YMCA in Westchester, N.Y., and the Fiver Children’s Foundation.”
As she wrote her piece, Linskey didn’t know how much Clinton would be paid for the speech. She didn’t know if the fee was going to Clinton herself or to the Clinton Foundation.
None of this stopped Linskey from writing her “news report,” in which she simply imagined a fee and went on from there. She went on and on about the “barrage of criticism” Clinton has received for making paid speeches.
(In Friday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, the president of the camp group was quoted saying that Clinton’s fee “was ‘nowhere near’ the estimates he had seen in news reports.” Whatever!)
Linskey never even tried to explain what’s wrong with giving paid speeches. She just kept noting how harshly Clinton has been criticized for the practice.
To see how you shouldn't do news reports, consider this passage, in which Linskey discusses the harshest criticism the candidate has received for this type of conduct:
LINSKEY (3/19/15): The most blistering criticism was directed at her for paid appearances before college audiences, a list that’s included Simmons College in Boston, Colgate University in New York, and the University of Miami in Florida.Is fifty photos a lot or a little? We’re supposed to think it’s too few!
Clinton initially asked to be paid $300,000 when she agreed to speak at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Foundation last year. She settled for $225,000, according to according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, which obtained her contract via a public records request. The terms required that the university pay for a transcript of the event and stipulated that Clinton would only pose for 50 photographs. Students there asked Clinton to donate her fee to the university.
When she appeared at the University of Buffalo in October 2013, the fee was $275,000, according to a copy of the contract obtained by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit research group that did records request for the document.
Meanwhile, Linskey cited the plea from the students at UNLV. But she failed to mention several facts from the past reporting:
According to the past reporting, those college speaking fees went to the Clinton Foundation, not to Clinton herself. Beyond that, the fees in question came from private donors who fund college lecture series.
As such, they didn’t come out of the budgets of these universities. They didn’t effect tuition fees paid by students. The protesting kids probably didn’t know that. Thanks to Linskey, Boston Globe readers still don't!
Linskey went on and on and on and on, signaling it was puzzling and wrong for Clinton to give Thursday’s speech. At least she didn’t discuss the way the hopeful pronounced different words or the tones on display in her wardrobe.
Healy needs to attend a meeting; Linskey should be assigned to a less serious beat. That said, it happens every fourth spring! And this is one of those years!
Starting Monday, we'll discuss how liberals and Democrats should deal with the upcoming mess. For now, a quick bit of perspective:
Sixteen years ago, the Boston Globe did snarky reporting of this type about Candidate Gore. This was especially true during the primaries, although one dead-ender performed a serious coup in September 2000 concerning the cost of those doggy pills.
Al Gore lied about the doggy arthritis pills! In September 2000, this absurd claim, joined to one other, turned the national polling around. (Al Gore lied about the union lullaby!)
They seemed to like Candidate Bradley much more at the Boston Globe. In the process, great damage was done, and Bush ended up in the White House.
For Bradley admirers, of whom there were many but not enough, could that have been a good result? We liberals could easily do it again.
If you doubt that, just watch!