Hillary Clinton’s love of the press Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, November 13, 2007
An interesting peek into the Clinton machine (by a left leaning publication) and what everyone pretty much knows, but isn't often said, for reasons stated in the 3rd paragraph:
On June 1, The New York Times published a front-page article titled, ONE PLACE WHERE OBAMA GOES ELBOW TO ELBOW. The feature detailed Barack Obama's love for pickup basketball, his jersey-tugging style, even the time he hit a long game-winning shot after getting fouled.
The Obama camp clearly welcomed the humanizing glimpse at Obama's life; his rivals, probably not so much. In an ordinary campaign, that might have been it. But this is no ordinary campaign—not when Hillary Clinton is a candidate. And so, the Clinton team let Times reporter Patrick Healy, who covers the Hillary beat, know about their "annoyance" with the story, as Healy later put it.
If grumbling about a basketball story seems excessive, it's also typical of the Clinton media machine. Reporters who have covered the hyper-vigilant campaign say that no detail or editorial spin is too minor to draw a rebuke. Even seasoned political journalists describe reporting on Hillary as a torturous experience. Though few dare offer specifics for the record—"They're too smart," one furtively confides. "They'll figure out who I am"—privately, they recount excruciating battles to secure basic facts. Innocent queries are met with deep suspicion. Only surgically precise questioning yields relevant answers. Hillary's aides don't hesitate to use access as a blunt instrument, as when they killed off a negative GQ story on the campaign by threatening to stop cooperating with a separate Bill Clinton story the magazine had in the works. Reporters' jabs and errors are long remembered, and no hour is too odd for an angry phone call. Clinton aides are especially swift to bypass reporters and complain to top editors. "They're frightening!" says one reporter who has covered Clinton. "They don't see [reporting] as a healthy part of the process. They view this as a ruthless kill-or-be-killed game."
Now, for the crowd out there that likes to complain about the secrecy of the Bush administration, I'd just point out that if you think this administration isn't forthcoming, let there be a Hillary Clinton administration and watch her rewrite the book.
Additionally, note how controlling they attempt to be. They're annoyed by a positive Obama story? You know, your first reaction to that, or at least mine, is to say "get over it". But reporters don't dare, because access is life to them (that's where the blogosphere comes in, thank goodness).
And note the last line - now try to convince me that a Clinton administration is going to be a transparent administration. Heh ... yeah, try again.
Heh - I read that yesterday - they managed to blame Hillary’s tendencies on the Bush White House, saying they took their press behavior queues from watching Bush. And of course pointed out that Hillary’s press people don’t lie, like the Bush people do.
And, if that sounds familiar, it may be because the Clinton machine, say reporters and pro-Hillary Democrats, is emulating nothing less than the model of the Bush White House, which has treated the press with thinly veiled contempt and minimal cooperation. "The Bush administration changed the rules," as one scribe puts it—and the Clintonites like the way they look. (To be sure, no one accuses the Clinton team of outright lying to the press, as the Bushies have done, or of crossing other ethical lines. And reporters say other press shops—notably those of Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards—are also highly combative.)
"Oddly enough I don’t recall the same amount of derangement with Nixon that Bush is subject to."
Well, I think that’s because "The New Left" was still pretty new during Nixon’s terms.
A larger historical dynamic that I see is the Left/Right teetering over a timeline that runs from Reagan (two terms, and I also throw in Bush 41) through Maximum Bill to Bush 43. Nixon is anomalous since Eisenhower — although the anomaly was taken care of with his resignation — until Reagan, and the fight for power representing ideology has been hellacious since him. And if we want to talk about "derangement", this goes back to my first point, above: by the time of Reagan, American lefties had their tactical feet under them for the first time, really, since Khrushchev’s "Secret Speech" in 1956, which blew ’em all to hell for about a decade. (There are good insights to this in Horowitz’s autobio, "Radical Son".)
To my mind, "Derangement" actually began with Reagan.
As for Bush, they hated him instantly as he became a serious prospect for election, for the simple reason that he’s not commie enough for them, which is a fact that has always made me laugh right out loud.
"Patience, children," I think of them. "You’ll get what you want soon enough, and Bush is not in your way."
To my mind, "Derangement" actually began with Reagan.
I’m biased by the fact that I was first of age to vote in May of 1980, and later that year I voted for Reagan. Hence Nixon and previous Republicans are mostly in my consiousness from history books (I recall "voting" for Nixon in elemetry school in a pretend election).
That said, I tend to agree with you. The left wing appears to have come unhinged with Reagan.
The reason that happened, Don, is that, even though Reagan was certainly not — to me — a really principled defender of freedom, he was the first president to make all those kinds of noises, if not in the twentieth century, then certainly since World War II. (I’ve said it before: Ann Coulter embarrassed me with a passage in one of her books — I forget exactly which one — when she pointed out that he was the first American president ever to present a face-front and explicitly moral challenge to the Soviet Union. That had not occurred to me before I read it in her book, but it should have.)
What we saw in the Reagan era was the clash of the rhetoric of freedom, albeit with halting steps here and there in domestic policy (but which in no way mitigate the advances in statism under him), with an organizationally and culturally maturing "New Left" (the marching morons of the Sixties), to whom the very sounds were complete anathema.
I actually believe this is a confluence unique in American history.
And it set the tone for everything about political debate in this country, ever since.