Where have we heard that before: In the past few weeks, we’ve linked to three different journalists warning the world about “the Clinton rules.”
Last week, we linked to Paul Krugman, then to Gene Lyons. This week, we’ve linked to Michelle Goldberg.
All three alleged a long-standing practice in which mainstream journalists have invented pseudo-scandals involving the Clintons. Our question:
Has this “longstanding journalistic vendetta” (Goldberg’s term) actually taken place?
You’ll never see that question discussed within the national press corps. You’ll never see it discussed on cable. Simply put, that naughty discussion simply isn’t allowed.
In 1996, Lyons published Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater. The book was disappeared by the press corps, even though it was published and promoted by Harper’s magazine, an honored American literary institution.
That discussion wasn’t allowed.
At this site, we spent years documenting the twenty-month war against Candidate Gore, an obvious offshoot of the failed attempts against President Clinton.
That discussion has never been allowed. Conversations of that type simply aren’t allowed in our mainstream press. You aren’t allowed to hear the truth about the press corps’ behavior.
Krugman can post as much as he likes. His comments will produce no discussion; those discussions are not allowed. Joan Walsh won’t follow his lead, to cite one fiery liberal example. Her cable colleagues were up to their necks in the disgraceful wars which sent George W. Bush to the White House. No one at MSNBC will ever discuss what occurred at the channel back then—or in 2007 and 2008, for that matter, when Matthews and Olbermann kept themselves busy spreading the misogyny all around.
Simply put, we aren’t allowed to hear about the way our press corps actually works. Instead, we get the type of discussion which popped up at The New Republic last week.
Elspeth Reeve’s article carried this headline: “Why Do So Many People Hate the Sound of Hillary Clinton's Voice?”
Reeve scrutinized the speaking voices of a string of White House hopefuls. She then discussed the problem faced by Candidate Clinton.
Clinton’s voice is over-scrutinized, Reeve said. She offered a recent example:
REEVE (5/1/15): That brings us to the over-scrutinized voice of Hillary Clinton. To pull one recent example, here's a New York Times reporter analyzing Clinton's presidential campaign announcement video last week: "It allows her to use her quieter-but-confident speaking voice, instead of the VOICE she uses at news conference and at rallies, when she sometimes SPEAKS SO LOUDLY in hopes of conveying ENERGY and FORCEFULNESS (rather than simply projecting her voice better)." Bloomberg Politics has broken down Clinton’s accent as it has changed since 1983, as she moved from Arkansas to Washington and spoke before different audiences. The reporter felt moved to assert three times that Clinton’s changing accent was not a sign of inauthenticity.Will Candidate Clinton be attacked for her speaking voice this time? We’ll guess that she probably won’t.
First, it’s important to note that women’s voices generally get more scrutiny...
That said, this is the kind of discussion we are allowed to hear. Reeve’s approach is especially welcome, in that it challenges an unfair focus on the voices of women.
Reeve was too polite to name the New York Times journalist who composed that mocking scrutinization of Clinton’s voice. (It was Patrick Healy, of Kerry campaign fame.)
She was too disconnected from the real world to be reminded of an earlier mocking scrutinization of Candidate Gore’s loud voice.
Way back when, the column was written by the always awful Gail Collins. As you can see, our vaunted scribblers at the Times only know so many plays:
COLLINS (6/21/99): Al Gore Turns the Volume Way, Way UpCollins played this card back then. Healy played it last month.
Al Gore has been trying to be more exciting on the stump—trying so hard that if he keeps it up, he'll rupture his vocal cords before the New Hampshire primary.
The new Al Gore yells quite a lot. Caught between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, two natural campaigners, the Vice President is trying to make up in decibels what he lacks in spontaneity. "I am not satisfied! INDEED I AM RESTLESS!" he cried in New York, announcing his candidacy for President with a list of promises about what he would do to move the country TOWARD AMERICA'S NEW HORIZONS, a goal that will involve eliminating EVERY LAST DIME OF WASTE, fighting GLOBAL WARMING and making our public schools THE FINEST AND BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.
This is our fault. We have been carping about how boring Al Gore is, and the poor man is all but howling at the moon in an effort to sound more compelling...
This is the way these people function. Beyond that, they exercise a tight control on all discussion of their wider conduct, “Clinton rules” and possible vendettas very much included.
You aren’t allowed to hear those discussions. Tune in tomorrow to see Chris Hayes react to Goldberg by spreading the silence around.
Everybody knows the rules. Such discussions are not allowed.