Plus, Chozick's delicious tale: In the past few days, Candidate Clinton and Candidate Sanders have released one-minutes ads.
Excited pundits are describing these ads as the candidates' "closing statements" in the drive to win Iowa and New Hampshire. And yes, the pundits are very worked up. Mika's very first statement today was pure, undisguised propaganda concerning one of those ads.
The hopefuls have started their closing drives; some pundits are in the same mode. Then too, a cynic might review the front page of the New York Times in the past two days and imagine a similar motive:
Front-page headline, New York Times, January 21:People, we're just saying! And yes, this is the New York Times we're discussing, not the now-reduced Washington Times. But talk about a reversion to form! It was sometimes hard to distinguish the two during Campaign 2000 as well.
'90s Scandals Have Feminists Wary of Clinton
Front-page headline, New York Times, January 22:
Clinton's Paid Speeches to Wall Street Animate Her Opponents
This has nothing to do with the relative merits of Candidates Sanders and Clinton, which readers can judge as they will. With respect to the glorious Times, a cynic might think he was seeing a decades-long war against Clinton/Gore/Clinton coming down, once again, to the wire.
Whatever! As white-out conditions restrict us from seeing our keyboard and screen, we want to extend yesterday's post about that January 21 front-page report, in which Amy Chozick showed the world, once again, why she may have been the most horrible new major journalist of 2015.
(More on that richly-deserved designation in the next week or two.)
With frameworks built by Candidate Trump, Chozick was asking a serious question in yesterday's front-page report. Back in the 1990s, did Hillary Clinton try to "discredit" some women who "came forward" with sexual charges and sexual stories involving her husband?
More malevolently, did she even attempt to "destroy their stories?"
That seems like a perfectly serious, if extremely old, question. (Somehow, the press corps skipped this newly-troubling question during Campaign 08.)
In theory, that's a serious question. That said, an obvious question didn't seem to enter Chozick's head in the course of her front-page report:
What if a woman "comes forward" with a claim—with a sexual charge or a sexual story—which just flat isn't true?
If a person "comes forward" with such a story, is it wrong to try to "discredit" that story? Is it wrong to "discredit" the person who told it? Would a sensible person even use that language in discussing a situation like that?
If a person interjects himself or herself into a White House campaign with a story which isn't true, is it actually wrong to try to "discredit" that person? There is no sign that this obvious question has ever entered Chozick's head, a head which increasingly makes us think of Stendahl's most famous novel.
Journalistically speaking, the highly Sorelian Chozick keeps wandering off toward hopeless. When she listed the women who "came forward" with a sexual story involving Bill Clinton, she started with Connie Hamzy. But she didn't tell readers who Hamzy is, or why news orgs decided against reporting her claim at the time.
She also mentioned Gennifer Flowers. But she didn't mention the groaning, clownish factual errors which made a joke of the tabloid story for which Flowers was richly paid, back when she interjected herself into a White House campaign.
She also doesn't mention the way Flowers then turned herself into a play-for-pay chronicler of the Clintons' long string of murders, with side trips devoted to explaining the fact that Hillary Clinton is the world's most gigantic lesbo, what with her "big fat butt" and the rest of the horrible package!
Judged on any rational basis, Flowers is a journalistic nightmare. That said, you'll never read this horrible story in the pages of the Times—and Chozick, despite her provincial background, seems to know that she must play the game as sketched out by her betters.
So much is awful with Chozick's report that we can't address it all today. Adding to yesterday's post, let's restrict ourselves to the thrilling way she started her report.
The piece appeared on the Times front page, beneath the headline recorded above. Chozick began with a delicious tale of a troubling upscale event.
As a journalistic service, we will insert one word:
CHOZICK (1/21/16): This month, Lena Dunham, wearing a red, white and blue sweater dress with the word “Hillary” emblazoned across the chest, told voters how Hillary Clinton had overcome sexism in her political career.Darlings, that was delish! At an Upper East Side dinner party at the Park Avenue apartment of the CEO of HBO, Lena Dunham blurted to guests that she was "disturbed" by all that past discrediting!
“The way she has been treated is just more evidence of the fact that our country has so much hatred toward successful women,” Ms. Dunham, the creator and star of the HBO series “Girls,” said at a Clinton campaign event in Manchester, N.H.
But at an Upper East Side dinner party a few months back, Ms. Dunham [reportedly] expressed more conflicted feelings. She told the guests at the Park Avenue apartment of Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, that she was disturbed by how, in the 1990s, the Clintons and their allies discredited women who said they had had sexual encounters with or been sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton.
Rather, we'd say that Dunham [reportedly] blurted that she was disturbed. Why did we add "reportedly," a word Chozick didn't use?
We stuck it in for two reasons. In her next paragraph, Chozick told readers that this claim had been "relayed by several people with knowledge of the discussion who would speak about it only anonymously."
Chozick didn't explain why anonymity was granted, as she's supposed to do. And uh-oh! A fair bit later, inside the paper, on page A15, Chozick finally noted that Lena Dunham had issued a flat denial:
CHOZICK: Ms. Dunham declined a request for comment. Her spokeswoman, Cindi Berger, said that Ms. Dunham was “fully supportive of Hillary Clinton and her track record for protecting women,” and that the description of her comments at the dinner party was a “total mischaracterization.”What did Dunham say at that very chic party? We have no idea.
Who "relayed" the conversation to Chozick? Chozick won't say, but given the setting, those sources may be among the most fatuous people on the planet. This makes them perfect interview subjects for a hireling of Chozick's type.
Is Chozick's account of what Dunham said a "total mischaracterization?" We don't have the slightest idea, nor can we say we much care. But you had to read well into the report to learn that the delicious claim which started the piece, out on the front page, had been flatly denied.
If we were to publish such piddle at all, we'd be inclined to stick "reportedly" into our copy. But "reportedly" would have drained the juice from that delicious opening story. Perhaps for that reason, it didn't make the cut.
We sometimes think of Julien Sorel, the provincial climber, when we read Chozick's copy. We also think of I, Claudius, to which we referred last week—a novel in which the Roman masses have no idea of the extent to which they're being misled, conned and misinformed by the powerful powers that be.
Chozick's report is defined as much by the information she omits as by the information she includes. And make no mistake, this new gladiator is slick.
There's basic information about those Clinton accusers which you will never read in the New York Times. Chozick may have bussed herself in from the provinces, but she seems to know the rules about what can't be conveyed.
Again and again, Chozick's report is defined by the information she omits. And yes, this former provincial is slick. Just consider that slippery reference to Flowers!
Blizzard permitting, we'll review that pitiful passage in our next award-winning post.