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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

This post originally appeared on Media Matters.

Searching for campaign infractions real and imagined, the media’s etiquette police have been busy writing up Hillary Clinton for numerous violations lately.

“She shouts,” complained Washington Post editor Bob Woodward last week on MSNBC, deducting points for Clinton’s speaking style. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating, and I think that just jumps off the television screen.”

“Has nobody told her that the microphone works?” quipped Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough, who led a lengthy discussion about Clinton’s voice (the “tone issue”). Scarborough and his guests dissected Clinton’s “screaming,” and how she is supposedly being “feisty” and acting “not natural.”

Over on Fox, Geraldo Rivera suggested Clinton “scream[s]” because she “may be hard of hearing.” CNBC’s Larry Kudlow bemoaned her “shrieking.”

During last week’s debate, Bob Cusack, editor of The Hilltweeted, “When Hillary Clinton raises her voice, she loses.” (Cusack later deleted the tweet and apologized.) During a discussion on CNN about Clinton’s volume, David Gergen stressed, “Hillary was so angry compared to Sanders.”

The New York Times’ debate coverage pushed the same “angry” narrative, detailing “The ferocity of Mrs. Clinton’s remarks,” and how she appeared “tense and even angry at times,” “particularly sensitive,” and was “going on the offensive.” (By contrast, her opponent “largely kept his cool.”)

Media message received: Clinton is loud and cantankerous!

But it’s not just awkward gender stereotypes that are in play these days. It’s a much larger pattern of thumb-on-the-scale coverage and commentary. Just look at what seemed to be the press’ insatiable appetite to frame Clinton’s Iowa caucus win last week as an unnerving loss. Pundits also inaccurately claimed that she had to rely on a series of coin tosses to secure a victory.

As I’ve noted before, these anti-Clinton guttural roars from the press have become predictable, cyclical events, where pundits and reporters wind themselves up with righteous indignation and shift into pile-on mode regardless of the facts on the ground. (And the GOP cheers.) The angry eruptions now arrive like clockwork, but that doesn’t make them any less baffling. Nor does that make it any easier to figure out why the political press corps has decided to wage war on the Democratic frontrunner. (And publicly admit that they’re doing it.)

Sure, the usual nutty anti-Clinton stuff is tumbling off the right-wing media branches, with Fox News suggesting her campaign was nothing more than “bra burning,” while other conservatives mocked her “grating” voice.

But what’s happening inside the confines of the mainstream media is more troubling. Rush Limbaugh advertising his insecurities about powerful women isn’t exactly breaking news. Watching Beltway reporters and pundits reveal their creeping contempt for Clinton and wrapping it in condescension during a heated primary season is disturbing. And for some, it might trigger bouts of déjà vu.

It was fitting that the extended examination of Clinton’s “tone” last week unfolded on Morning Joe. As Think Progress noted, that show served as a hotbed for weird gender discussions when Clinton ran for president in 2008: “Scarborough often referenced the ‘Clinton cackle’ and another panelist cracked a joke that Clinton reminded everyone of their ‘first wife in probate court.'” (The crack about probate court got lots of laughs from Scarborough’s all-male panel at the time.)

The toxic put-downs during the heated Democratic primary in 2008 were everywhere. (i.e. Candidate Clinton was a “hellish housewife.”) At the time, Salon’s Rebecca Traister detected among male pundits “a nearly pornographic investment in Clinton’s demise.”

And that was not an understatementFrom Dr. Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University:

She was referred to as a “white bitch” on MSNBC and CNN; a blood-sucking “vampire” on Fox; the “wicked witch of the west” on CNN; and “everyone’s first wife standing outside of probate court,” a “she devil” and the castrating Lorena Bobbitt, all on MSNBC.

That Clinton was unfairly roughed up by the press in 2008 isn’t really a question for debate anymore. Even the man who campaigned against her, President Obama, recently noted that “there were times where I think the media probably was a little unfair to her” during their Democratic primary battle.

I wonder if Obama thinks the press is once again being unfair with its primary coverage.

For example, as the press continues to focus on the issue of Clinton’s speaking fees as a private citizen, the New York Times reported, “The former secretary of state has for months struggled to justify how sharing her views on global affairs could possibly fetch $225,000 a pop from banks. ”

The former secretary of state can’t justify her large speaking fee, even though former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, among others, have all pocketed large, six-figure speaking fees?

Author Carl Bernstein said at CNN, “Now, you’ve got a situation with these transcripts, a little bit like Richard Nixon and his tapes that he stonewalled on and wouldn’t release.”

Over the past week, media outlets have been trying to explain how Clinton’s hard-fought win in Iowa wasn’t really a win.

During the run-up to the vote, Iowa was often described as a state that Clinton absolutely had to win (electorally, it wasn’t). And so then when she won, what did some in the press do? They claimed she didn’t really win Iowa, and if she did it was because of lucky coin tosses.

False and false.

“Even if he doesn’t actually win, this feels like a win for @BernieSanders,” tweeted Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer the night of the Iowa vote, echoing a widespread media talking point. The New York Times repeatedly referred to her Iowa victory as a “tie.”

Note the contrast: In 2012, when Mitt Romney claimed to have won the Iowa Republican caucus by just eight votes, The New York Times announced unequivocally that Romney had, in fact, won Iowa. (Weeks later a recount concluded Rick Santorum won the caucus by 34 votes.)

Why was Iowa dubbed a loss by so many for Clinton? Because Sanders “was nowhere a few months ago,” as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer put it the night of the vote.

Actually, if you go back to last September and October, polls showed the Iowa race was in flux and occasionally veered within the margin of error. More recently, CNN’s final Iowa poll before the caucus had Clinton trailing by eight points in that state. So the idea a close Iowa finish was “surprising,” or constituted a Clinton collapse, doesn’t add up.

Meanwhile, did you notice that when the Clinton campaign accurately predicted that it had the votes to win the caucus, members of the press were quick to mock the move. Even after Iowa officials declared her the winner, the Clinton campaign was attacked as being “disingenuous” for saying she was the winner.

And then there was the weird embrace of the coin toss story, which was fitting, since so much of the Clinton campaign coverage these days seems to revolve around a very simple premise: Heads she loses, tails she loses.

Photo: Journalists in the debate media filing center watch as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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36 responses to “Clinton Coverage Goes Off The Rails — Again”

  1. Otto Greif says:

    It’s funny when liberals whine about liberal media being biased.

    • JPHALL says:

      Funny how you right wingers always claim the media is biased until a Democrat complains of the same thing.

      • Otto Greif says:

        The media is biased in favor of liberals and Democrats.

        • JPHALL says:

          Pure Fox cable news BS. Most media outlets are owned and now days have their editorial slant provided by their Conservative owners. See Murdock, etc. Subject: Re: Comment on Clinton Coverage Goes Off The Rails — Again

          • Theodora30 says:

            The head of CBS News, David Rhodes, is a protege of Roger Ailes. He came up through Fox News where he rose to VP of News before moving to CBS.

          • Otto Greif says:

            His brother is Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for President Barack Obama.

          • Theodora30 says:

            That means nothing. My brother is my political opposite.

          • RED says:

            Well, it actually means the same thing it’s always meant, O.G., that’s Original Gasbag is a moron, aan ignorant, petulant, lying, angry, little moron. You must be new.

          • Otto Greif says:

            Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

          • Otto Greif says:

            “contributions made by large media conglomerates (which is comprised of the companies’ PACs and employees who list the media companies as their respective employers) overwhelmingly went to Democratic entities, including President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

            In the case of News Corp., Time Warner, Comcast, and the Walt Disney Co., donations made to Obama were roughly ten times the amount than donations made to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. For example, Comcast donated a total of $206,056 to Obama, compared to $20,500 to Mitt Romney. CBS Corp.’s PAC differed in that the committee donated to more Republicans than Democrats.

            Media CEOs, though, also donated more to Democrats than Repubicans. By exception of News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch (who donated heavily to the GOP), Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes and CBS’ Leslie Moonves (who both only donated to their corporations’ respective PACs), media CEOs gave significantly more donations to Democratic politicians than their Republican counterparts.”


          • JPHALL says:

            Like the Supreme Court you equate money with free speech and influence. Like Trump they placed their bets and that time won. But when you pay attention to what they say and write in the media the slant has shifted to the right. Subject: Re: Comment on Clinton Coverage Goes Off The Rails — Again

          • Otto Greif says:

            You claimed these companies are run by Republicans, the donations indicate that’s not the case.

          • JPHALL says:

            Once again you assume things. I did not say Republicans, I said Conservatives. Both parties have those with conservative views. Conservatism is not only a right wing viewpoint. Subject: Re: Comment on Clinton Coverage Goes Off The Rails — Again

          • Otto Greif says:

            You pretend the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias, now you are pretending Democrats are conservatives.

          • JPHALL says:

            As usual you are full of BS. The right wing does not constitute all of American conservatism, only the most extreme. There are many Dems who hold conservative views especially among Catholics and other religious types. They are Dems because they disagree with Repub policies. Subject: Re: Comment on Clinton Coverage Goes Off The Rails — Again

          • FireBaron says:

            JP, remember, Faux News is officially part of Fox Entertainment Division. This is unlike CBS, NBC and ABC where their News Departments are separate from their Entertainment Divisions. This means Fox knows exactly what they are presenting, and it sure as hell isn’t news.

        • Buford2k11 says:

          no it isn’t…quit lying…

        • Bosda says:

          Oddly, the media seems to be biased against Sanders.
          He is constantly snugged & dismissed, for no very good reason.
          Hilary, in contrast, is buffed to a bright shine, with lowball questions asked.

          I admit to being a Sanders supporter, in the interests of openness.

    • ray says:

      What liberal media? Most of the major networks are owned by right wing billionaires.

      • Otto Greif says:

        You’re really delusional if you don’t think the media has a liberal bias.

        • ray says:

          Maybe comedy central.

        • charleo1 says:

          I think facts tend to have a liberal bias. I think when the press reports on the three ring circus going on in Right Wing politics. The nuttiness, the hair on fire panic, the extremism, bigotry, homophobia, and nativism. Mixed generously together with a lot of militarism, ridiculous chest thumping, and willful ignorance. The Righties naturally get defensive about the revues of all their little side shows. And so add the press onto their already miles long list of institutions that they insist are failing, need closing down, shutting down, or flat out burning down. I think people who are actually delusional tend to use the word delusional a lot.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    I too have a problem with Hillary’s speaking style, but I am not sure it involves her tendency to shout. What is missing in her discourse is greater emphasis on economic and job creation issues, and a message of optimism that, at the moment, is the exclusive realm of Bernie Sanders.
    The problems with Hillary do not include Benghazi or e-mails, or whether she is a moderate or progressive. Her long, and impressive, record is for review and leaves little doubt about her social progressive emphasis, and her tough approach to foreign policy. What seems to be missing, and what Bernie is capitalizing on, is more emphasis on economic and job creation issues, which happens to be the most important issues for most Americans.
    An economy that benefits mostly the super rich, and does little for the average American, is unsustainable. Salary stagnation has stifled our economic recovery, almost as much as the GOP refusal to invest on endeavors such as infrastructure, modernization, alternative energy sources, and climate change preparations. The fact that millions of Americans are unprepared, or unqualified, for the high tech and hard science jobs that are currently going to foreign professionals entering the USA with H1b visas, needs attention and resolution. Bernie understands the reason for the anxiety that so many Americans, and the disillusionment that some many feel towards our government and leaders, a lot better than Hillary does.
    She has to start talking about things that matter in an unambiguous way, preferably offering realistic solutions, if she wants to win the Democratic party nomination. She is likely to win the South Carolina primaries by a comfortable margin; the same way Trump and Cruz will win South Carolina, but if she wants to guarantee a victory, they must all look beyond a state with a demography that includes large numbers of ethnic minorities, and a very large number of evangelicals.
    As for the media, Trump dominates the media, not because he owns it, but because he knows how to manipulate people, including media executives more interested in ratings and the bottom line, than fair and effective journalism.

    • mike says:

      Hillary’s problem is Benghazi and emails, once NYT exposed her, the country found her to be untrustworthy because of her lies and poor judgement which made her no longer the inevitable candidate. Voters have realized her questionable ethical conduct is not right-wing talking points. It has permeated the electorate.
      She is a poor candidate, a dour wooden 68 year old who only won the 64 and over crowd in NH. What is evident is she doesn’t have the interest of voters. The mantle of inevitability has been stripped away.
      Bernie has pulled her so far to the left it will be hard to tack back to the center in the general election. She is no Bill or Barack!
      Still thinking of you and yours.

      • Sko Hayes says:

        What questionable ethical conduct? The two former Secretaries of State, and a former Secretary of Defense have used private emails in the past to conduct government business. As it turns out, State was hacked twice during Hillary’s tenure, while her private server was never touched.
        Benghazi is a dead horse, but you guys stick with that, it’s working so well for you.

        • mike says:

          Rice and Powell did not have their own private, unsecured serve.
          You don’t know if she was hacked. Only the FBI knows. Are you with the FBI task force investigating her? I doubt you are.
          Hillary was in constant contact by email with Sidney Blumenthal, who was hacked. Did you ever wonder why the person who maintained her server took the 5th before congress.
          She is under 3 Federal investigations over emails and server. Only you and most of the left thinks it no big deal.
          Time for you to go back under a rock.
          If she is so ethical why are her unfavorable numbers so high with majority of Americans. She is not trustworthy. Has been caught in number ours lies. And you think she doesn’t have an ethical, that’s funny.

          • Sko Hayes says:

            You’d like to see the truth back under a rock so you and your “patriot” friends can continue spread lies.
            Sorry hon, that ain’t happening!
            By the way, you might want to google “Colin Powell email” and read a little of that truth.
            Enlightenment is always good.

          • mike says:

            So Powell had a private server, is that correct?
            How many classified emails did the IG find in Powell’s emails? TWO(2)?How many classified emails did IG find in Hilary’s emails so far? 1600+? One thousand six hundred, right?
            How many SAP’s, the most secretive and highly classified programs, were found in her emails? TWENTY (20)
            The one who needs enlightenment is you.
            “Lies”you really are delusional which is not surprising.

          • Sko Hayes says:

            Colin Powell DELETED all the emails off his private server. The ones they found were archived through staff members’ email accounts at State.
            The other emails your compadres refer to were not classified at the time of sending, but are being retroactively classified to prevent release to the public.
            Including emails about the drones in certain countries like Yemen and Pakistan.
            Are you aware that what I just wrote is classified information?

          • mike says:

            So did Powell have a private server? Yes or No?
            Powell had private email but his emails went through govt. system. Not a private server. Wake up! That’s why they found his 2 emails with classified material.
            Why did SD IG have to go to Hillary for her records when FOIA request was made if they had her emails?
            No, what you wrote has already been mentioned by press. Your vision of grandeur is way over blown in your mind.

  3. Roy says:

    Ever hear of the Hillary Tapes where she brags about defending a rapist for the raping of a 12 year old girl. In the tapes she explicitly implies that she believes he did it however still defended him as a lawyer and got of on a plea bargain.

    • FireBaron says:

      No, and neither has anyone else who is not a devotee of Brietbart

    • RED says:

      Do you live in the US? The one that entitles every to a defense? Or is only for people you like. I sure the government goons don’t come grab you up and toss you in a hole, the whole time you being a whiney baby screaming I wanna call my lawyer! Stfu, you don’t get one. And I imagine you’re so foolish and ignorant now that you’re thinking “I didn’t commit a crime.”

  4. FireBaron says:

    Hillary Clinton and the New York and Washington Media have had it out for each other ever since Bill’s inauguration, when they found out she wouldn’t kiss their Pulitzer-wining butts. Ever since then, the likes of Maureen Dowd and Carl Bernstein have been out to eliminate any shred of reasonable reputation she may have.

  5. RED says:

    Goodness, Eric, so right! We should just quit worrying about all the big money speaking fees paid to Clinton, cause all the other SOS did it too. And so does every politician, right? So thinking that Presidents and politicians shouldn’t be owned by the wealthy, well that’s just not fair to Mrs, Clinton. As said she was just doing what all then other pols do. And that system has been pretty effective, very effective at destroying the middle class and democracy. But hey the most important thing is not to hurt Hillary’s feelings. Don’t worry about any of that other stuff.

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