We were struck by two reader comments: Yesterday, we showed you what Paul Krugman recently wrote about the so-called “Clinton rules”—about the destructive press culture which has long been directed against both Clintons and Gore.
For that rumination, click here.
Today, Gene Lyons discusses the same pseudo-scandal drenched topic. Back in 1996, Lyons wrote the original book on the subject—“Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater.”
In today’s column, Lyons discusses last Friday’s “bombshell report” in the New York Times, the same novelistic pseudo-report we’ve been trying to deconstruct.
He marvels at the way the Times has vouched for the work of Peter Schweizer, whose conservative-flavored journalism has had so many problems in the past. He closes with this observation:
LYONS (4/29/15): Look, there’s a reason articles like the Times’ big exposé are stultifyingly dull and require the skills of a contract lawyer to parse. Murky sentences and jumbled chronologies signify that the “Clinton rules” are back: all innuendo and guilt by association. All ominous rhetorical questions, but rarely straightforward answers.As Krugman did last week, Lyons is warning readers to check their wallets when newspapers like the New York Times start discussing the Clintons. That’s why we were semi-dismayed by the last two reader comments we found when we just reread Lyons’ column.
As a general matter, the liberal world has never understood the nature of the long-running jihad Krugman and Lyons have challenged. In the first of the comments to which we refer, a reader says this:
COMMENT TO LYONS COLUMN: The Republicans are just putting more grass in front of the sheep and they will eat it up. The masses love a scandal, true or false, they love it. Don't let the facts get in the way. The truly sad part in all this is few will ever read the book. They will get the “facts” from places like Fox and the blogs. No one wants to read more than 120 words anymore. Sheep to be lead around by the goats.Lyons wrote his column about the work of the New York Times. In a familiar manifestation, this reader seemed to think he had read a column about “the Republicans” and “places like Fox.”
Over here in our liberal world, that represents a very common disconnect. You’ll also note the contempt for average voters which tends to serve us poorly.
The second of the comments in questions errs in a complementary way. This commenter cites the New York Times, but doesn’t seem to comprehend the timetable which is involved here:
COMMENT TO LYONS COLUMN: Ahhhh NYT, how low you have fallen. You are no longer “The Gray Lady” that inspired respect and was considered to be the national newspaper of record. Now you are rolling in the same muck as any Murdoch publication.Now the Times is in the muck? Fiery liberals, please!
As noted, Lyons’ original book bore the subtitle, “How the Media Invented Whitewater.” In the main, the media to which he referred were the Washington Post and the New York Times. He described their bungled reporting about Whitewater pseudo-scandal”—bungled reporting which originated on the front page of the New York Times in January 1992.
During the years of the Clintons and Gore, the liberal world has suffered from corrupt journalistic leadership. The “Clinton rules” to which Lyons refers have been in existence since 1992. Most destructively, the Clinton rules have been in existence at the Washington Post and the New York Times.
The Fox News Channel didn’t exist when the Clinton rules came into existence. Beyond that, Democratic candidates can survive Fox. The Post and the Times make their survival much harder.
Do you believe in the Clinton rules? If so, you believe in an artifact of the mainstream press corps, not primarily of Fox. But the liberal world’s journalistic leaders have long swum in a professional and social sea dominated by those major newspapers. Almost without exception, those journalists haven’t been willing to tell liberal readers the truth about the longstanding peculiar behavior of those major newspapers.
Those comments today struck us as highly familiar and troubling. As Krugman and Lyons have noted, the Clinton rules seems to be active again. In the current destructive manifestation, they’re active at the New York Times, not on the Fox News Channel.
Liberal journalistic leaders have long refused to tell us the truth about this remarkable long-running jihad. When we read comments by liberal voters, we often think it shows.