Three letters in the Times: We just ordered Amy Chozick's book. This has produced a rare moment of self-loathing.
Aside from that, consider yesterday's trio of letters. Try to place them in the context of modern journalistic history.
In last weekend's Sunday Review, the Times let Chozick spout and prattle about her new book. Three letters about her essay appeared in yesterday's Times.
Needless to say, all three beat up on Candidate Clinton. You can read them here.
The first letter, from South Carolina, beat up on Clinton for running a lousy campaign. It also accepted, as accurate, an unsourced, self-pitying statement Chozick attributes to Clinton on Election Night—a statement we can find quoted by no one else at any time.
(More on that quoted statement next week. It became the headline for Chozick's piece in the Sunday Review.)
The second letter, from Florida, beats up on Clinton by saying that Chozick is being too hard on herself. It's crazy to say that the New York Times overdid the coverage of the emails and the pointless Wall Street speeches! Why would Chozick say that?
In her new book, “Chasing Hillary,” Amy Chozick, a longtime Hillary Clinton beat reporter, grapples with the role she had in publishing John Podesta’s emails and excerpts from Mrs. Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street, which were leaked by WikiLeaks in October 2016. Ms. Chozick harshly assesses her own conduct, writing that she “chose the byline” over responsible journalism and unwittingly became a puppet “in Vladimir Putin’s master plan.”Plainly, the New York Times can't be wrong, even when it says it was wrong!
I think this conclusion is both a bad case of revisionism and unhelpful to The Times’s readership. The speeches, for which Mrs. Clinton was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the emails, which included unflattering observations of Mrs. Clinton by her own staff, were newsworthy regardless of the manner in which they were obtained. The same would be true of the “Access Hollywood” tape or Donald Trump’s tax returns.
The third letter, from St. Louis, just beats up on Clinton in general, in passive-aggressive fashion. The letter starts with this:
"In my circle of liberal friends, no one is listening to Hillary Clinton."
And it ends with this:
All three letters batter Clinton. No letter had anything critical to say about the glorious Times.
Who knows? Maybe these letters were representative of the letters the Times received. Still, they may perhaps offer a look at one of the ways the upper-end press corps works.
When Chozick says the coverage went off the rails, the Times swings into action, publishing letters which say that she is wrong. These letters are the perfect extension of 26 years of Clinton/Gore/Clinton coverage in the Times.
As we've long noted, liberal journalists aren't allowed to discuss those decades of coverage. Apparently, neither are people who write letters to the clownish Times.
We expect to discuss Chozick's book all next week. The fact that we've actually purchased the book has produced a bit of self-loathing.