By Joe Conason

In Media Coverage Of Clintons, Anonymous Gossip And Fact-Free Cynicism Still Rule

September 25, 2013 8:47 pm Category: Memo Pad 58 Comments A+ / A-
In Media Coverage Of Clintons, Anonymous Gossip And Fact-Free Cynicism Still Rule

For the American media—and especially for “the liberal media”—even the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidential nomination, however distant, seems to invite a reversion to bad old habits. During the presidency of Hillary’s husband, all too many Washington journalists lived by “the Clinton rules,” which meant applying the most cynical interpretation to everything Bill and Hillary Clinton (and anybody associated with them) did or had ever done.

The resulting distortion of journalistic standards and political discourse did real damage to the country and wasted precious years on the worthless investigations that led up to Clinton’s impeachment. Both he and Hillary not only survived but ultimately rose above the calumniations. And many of the people who once sought to ruin them, including big names in the mainstream media, now cultivate the popular, powerful Clintons assiduously. Just glance at the list of participants in the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual conference, on stage this week in New York City.

Indeed, for anyone who attends CGI, the combination of commitment and celebrity that surrounds the Clintons – including daughter Chelsea, who helps to run their family foundation – is palpable. Today the annual conference and all of its offshoots are so well established that nobody is surprised to see top corporate CEOs and political figures from around the world mingle and network with nonprofit and foundation executives, all in pursuit of innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Nobody is surprised to see Christine LaGarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, talking women’s empowerment with U2’s Bono and a courageous Pakistani feminist activist named Khalida Brohi. And perhaps nobody is even surprised to see President Barack Obama sit down for an extended chat with Bill Clinton as they launched his administration’s campaign for health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

Yet while the excitement surrounding CGI results in deserved attention to the actual work of the Clinton Foundation every year, the media’s actual interest in all those uplifting stories is quite limited. And as the Hillary candidacy looms ever larger, a reversion to mean-spirited gossip, trivia, and unfounded suspicion can already be detected.

Consider the latest edition of The New Republic, whose usually astute editors chose the opening day of CGI to publish a long, dubious profile of Douglas Band — the former Clinton counselor who conceived the global initiative in 2004 and then spent years building it up (along with myriad other responsibilities to the former president and the foundation). Over the past few years Band has moved on to create a successful global business that consults with corporations, some of which are connected with Clinton in one way or another.

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In Media Coverage Of Clintons, Anonymous Gossip And Fact-Free Cynicism Still Rule Reviewed by on . For the American media—and especially for “the liberal media”—even the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidential nomination, however distant, seems to invit For the American media—and especially for “the liberal media”—even the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidential nomination, however distant, seems to invit Rating:

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  • JD Mulvey

    No right winger ever smeared the Clintons as bad as the Obama campaign did in 2008.

    • stcroixcarp

      Apparently you don’t remember Ken Starr and the “Whitewater Scandal”. The persecution of the Clintons was relentless and lasted 8 years. The special prosecutor found nothing, That’s when they went fishing for other dirt and Monica showed up.

      • Dominick Vila

        It would not surprise me if Monica was a GOP “plant”.

        • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

          Not necessarily Monica, but her supposed friend, Linda Tripp, definitely was. Monica was just a clueless wonder who overstayed her 15 minutes. At one point she said she was moving out of her apartment complex because she was afraid she would give it a bad reputation. The apartment complex in question was “The Watergate”. Yes, the same Watergate that led to the downfall of Nixon and company, and she was completely unaware of its history.

          • sigrid28

            I think I’m going to scream, just thinking about this whole Republican shibboleth again.

        • CPAinNewYork

          I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that you suffer from alzheimer’s.

          • sigrid28

            I think I’m going to scream, again.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Did you read his dumb comment? Dominick said that the Republican Party planted Monica Lewinsky in the White House, presumably to entice Slick Willie to have sex with her.

        • tax payer

          Who is she and what did she do for us at the White House?

          • CPAinNewYork

            You’re joking, right? You don’t know about the Monica Lewinsky
            scandal? Slick Willie committed perjury to assure the American public that he didn’t have sex with “that woman.” It got him impeached.

            Most people seemed to not care, so the Senate never convicted him.

            Personally, I considered it a tempest in a teapot, because just about every president, including Washington, had “dalliances.”

      • JD Mulvey

        Remember it very well. It was disgraceful.

        Apparently you don’t remember 2008’s “Bill Clinton is a racist” smears?

        • ralphkr

          How about the claim that “Bill Clinton is America’s first black president”?

          • CPAinNewYork

            How about the claim that Bill Clinton can’t keep his fly zipper closed?

          • ralphkr

            And how is that different than most presidents? Oh yeah, the zipper wasn’t invented until 1913 so George Washington did have one but he was certainly busy being father of the country in more ways than just political.

          • JD Mulvey

            CPA has a hair up his ass about Bill Clinton, so that’s why it’s different.

          • ralphkr

            Oh, I just thought that CPA had a very short attention span and was unable to remember anything that did not match his version of the universe just like the majority of modern conservatives.

          • CPAinNewYork

            The difference is that, up to Grover Cleveland, the presidents who conducted extramarital affairs were either discrete enough to keep it from public view or did it with slaves.

            Slick Willie’s adventures were so legendary, extending back to his days as Arkansas governor, that the national press was licking its lips when he arrived on the scene.

            Here’s a question for JD Mulvey and ralphkr, two Clinton admirers: What do you think makes Slick Willie so horney that a supposedly smart guy like him can’t keep his fly zippered, despite knowing that he’s going to get nailed for it in the press? Do you think that Hillary is frigid? If that’s true, then despite their intelligence, each picked the worst partner possible for married life.

          • ralphkr

            OK, CPA, what on earth makes you think that President Clinton was any hornier than any other man with a modicum of power? I have known ministers, doctors, business owners, city councilmen, mayors, & state legislatures who all spent a lot of time being serviced by their mistresses/interns/subordinates. Difference is not that no one knew about the indiscretions of various political & business people but that the press very politely ignored them because they did not consider it worth reporting. Then Gary Hart dared the press to catch him having an affair…they did, and now it is open season on reporting all sexual peccadilloes committed by politicians, etc.

            By the way, CPA, I was not a Clinton admirer until after the Republicans spent so much time throwing stupid accusations at him. After a while I decided that anyone that those idiots hated must have something good going for him after all and…I was right. My income (mostly investments since I retired 30 years ago) soon topped $100K and kept going up during the Clinton years. Of course, my income followed the historical trend of dropping over 50% with a Republican president and has only partially recovered since Obama was elected.

    • Billie

      That was a primary campaign. You haven’t seen that since. Even rep. candidates do that during a primary campaign.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Then why did obama nominate her for Secretary of State? Sure you have your facts straight?

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Why is it whenever any time the name “Clinton” is mentioned, every Republican Committee and Sub-committee Chair in the House and every Senior Republican Committee Member in the Senate demand a full investigation into everything associated with them?
    Those of us who lived through the Watergate investigations in the early 70s were amazed at just how much actual wrongdoing went on and was exposed, leading to Spiro Agnew’s “No Contest” plea to taking bribes and kickbacks in his White House office. There were actual felonies committed, and attempts to cover them up led to President Nixon’s resignation. The evidence showed enough that the House would have Impeached him and the Senate would have tried and convicted him.

    Then in the latter part of the Reagan Administration Iran-Contra showed how Reagan’s deteriorating mental condition allowed his subordinates to illegally sell arms to the Revolutionary Government of Iran in order to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua. The perpetrators were convicted on evidence, but had their convictions overturned on appeal based on procedural errors, not on the evidence!
    During the Clinton era, we had what started out as an investigation into profits made over a real estate deal that the Clintons were investors in (not involved in the actual negotiations) blow up into a full scale investigation covering the reorganization of the travel office (political appointees, not GSA employees), the suicide of Vince Foster, and a sex scandal concerning a woman who Clinton never actually had sex with. So what did they Impeach him on? Lying about having sex with an aide. Total cost? Billions. Total results? No evidence found to bring any civil or criminal action against anyone.
    But, it did set the stage for Republicans to investigate anything they felt they wanted to. Unfortunately, they never exercised that option during all the “alleged” misconduct of the Bush administration.

    • jointerjohn

      The Clintons infuriated the republican party when they broke the long-standing republican domination of campaign dollars from the financial sector and corporations. Republicans in 1992 thought they had that all sewed up with a ribbon on it and Bill took both that and a nice big bite out of the political middle as well. A fascinating first hand account of that period can be found in the book “Blinded By the Right” by former and now reformed right-wing hatchet man David Brock. He was the whizz-kid the right wing hired to destroy Anita Hill following her testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas. His insider accounts of the activities of Mona Charren and Grover Norquist are very interesting.

  • SeekingOut

    It is clear that the GOP are deathly afraid of a Hilary Clinton candidacy. This was also very evident in 2008 when they thought they could beat Mr. Obama but not Mrs. Clinton. If they believe that she has all of the shortcomings they attribute to her, then they should welcome her as the DEM nominee as she would then be vulnerable because of those failings. Instead, as soon as her name comes up they fire with all guns blazing. What does this suggest?

  • Dominick Vila

    Thanks goodness we have a “liberal” media. The sad truth is that the U.S. media, or most likely the moguls that own it, are responsible for much of the hysteria, distortions and overt lies that dominate political discourse in the USA.
    The investigations that were carried out during Bill Clinton’s tenure did not reveal anything and did not result in his impeachment. He was impeach because he lied about an extra-marital affair. In a nutshell, he was sacked by his Republican detractor who knew that neither their record nor their vision, or lack thereof, could match Clinton’s policies…and good luck. The fact that several former Presidents before Clinton, starting with none other than George Washington, were notorious for their dalliances, and that every Congress since we became a Republic did not accuse them of marital infidelity, presumably because they respected the office of the Presidency and because most Americans believe marital affairs are for the affected couple to deal with, did not make a difference to those whose only goal was to tarnish the record of one of our most successful presidents. The impeachment had more to do with the failure of Republicans to demonstrate their effectiveness by highlighting their record or advertising their vision, than because Bill Clinton did something unprecedented.
    Whether or not Hillary Clinton turns out to be a good president remains to be seen. Hopefully our “liberal” media will focus on her record, education, character, and vision rather than the same imaginary flaws that have been used against every female character before her.

    • Rick2101

      My concern about a Hillary nomination is that it could lead to a
      Republican win in 2016. The “Clinton” name seems to bring a lot
      of baggage with it, whether deserved or not. Even if Hillary is more
      “popular”, is that enough to win the “electoral”. It would be disappointing to have Republicans
      win just because the Democrats picked a nominee that could not win nationally. It reminds me of Mondale against Reagan in 1984.

  • Helen North Ga Mountains

    We thank the Clintons for the Jeremiah Wright video , the Bill Ayers-Obama connection, and last but not least Phil J. Berg’s birther movement

    • JD Mulvey

      And for the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pearl Harbor and the bubonic plague?

  • CPAinNewYork

    Many people, both conservatives and liberals and all the gradations in between, don’t like the Clintons because they are perceived as opportunists and possibly murderers. Add to that Bill clinton’s inability to control his sexual urges and to keep his escapades out of public scrutiny and you have a lethal situation for bad press.
    I hope that Hillary Clinton fails to get the Democratic nomination in 2016, because I don’t think thta she will be a strong candidate. If she did win the presidency, i suspect that she’d be marginally effective in the important area of international relations. Her stint as Secretary of State was a failure, capped off by her inability to do anything about the threats to our worldwide diplomatic installations.
    Bill’s accomplishments overshadow Hillary’s. She’s a smart woman, but she has little to no practical experience in government. Her stint as Secretary of State was a disaster. She visited a lot of countries, but there don’t seem to be any substantial accomplishments.
    That said, if she were to win she certainly wouldn’t be the first novice to become president. But, few of them were resounding successes at the job, including George Washington.

    • sigrid28

      O Praise CPAinNewYork for his (or her) Pearls of Wisdom and . . . . . . . .

      disdain for the Clintons–“opportunists and possibly murderers”

      disdain for women–“She’s a smart woman” which is somehow not the same as being “smart”

      disdain for wives–“Bill’s accomplishments overshadow Hillary’s”

      disdain for Democrats–“the Democrats’ tendency to view New York as a dumping ground for its ‘carpetbaggers’ ”

      disdain for first-term presidents–“few of them were resounding successes at the job”

      disdain for pigs–make that “oversexed pigs”

      • CPAinNewYork

        I’m sorry that you don’t appreciate my disdain for the Clintons. I can only assure you that I hold the corrupt Bush-2 administration in equal contempt, mainly for its involving us in the second Iraq war and the blatant profiteering by Bush’s cronies like Cheney that accompanied it.

    • JD Mulvey

      Stopped reading at “possibly murderers.”

      • CPAinNewYork

        Good. You’re possibly an advocate for Hillary Clinton’s becoming president, which qualifies you for membership in the idiots of the century club.

        • JD Mulvey

          Anyone who does not believe the Clintons are murderers is an idiot?

          An impressive display of willful ignorance, not to mention hatred for the vast majority of your countrymen and women.

          Which qualifies you for membership in the Republican Party.

          • CPAinNewYork

            The “vast majority”? Where do you get your “statistics,” your imagination? I haven’t seen any reliable polls that predict Americans are solidly behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

            Hopefully, she’ll never get the Democratic nomination. If she does, there is a good chance that the Republicans will regain the presidency.

          • JD Mulvey

            I feel completely safe in saying that the vast majority does not think the Clintons are murderers.

            Claiming otherwise makes you a moron.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Believing that the Clintons are anything but a pair of lowlife crooks, opportunists and murderers makes you a gullible shmuck.

          • JD Mulvey

            How about you share which fine upstanding statesmen you’ve supported for President?

          • CPAinNewYork

            You probably mean supporting, i.e. present tense. I like Biden, with Warren as the vice presidential candidate.

          • JD Mulvey

            Do Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren think the Clintons are murderers? Or are they in the “idiots of the century” club?

          • CPAinNewYork

            I don’t know what they think of the Clintons and I don’t care, because I don’t want Hillary and her sleazeball husband to have any more influence in our government and I want to hasten the Republican Party’s demise.

          • JD Mulvey

            But you care very much what I think, apparently.

            Your whole premise here is that anyone who doesn’t think the Clintons are murderers is an idiot. That’s what you called me –a complete stranger.

            Now you suddenly claim you don’t care?

            How about you go fuck yourself.

          • CPAinNewYork


            You amaze me. I didn’t think that you had a vocabulary sufficiently extensive to include the word “fuck.”

            And, just for the record: I do think that you’re an idiot. At least you got that right.

    • ralphkr

      Yep, CPA, it is a real shame that H. Clinton was unable to match the brilliant record during the Bush years. Having a strong president such as Bush resulted in only 12 Embassy attacks with only 50+ Americans killed while having a weak-kneed president such as Obama and a female Secretary of State resulted in a complete failure at protecting our diplomatic installation and 2 attacks with 4 Americans killed. Yep, our diplomats were so much safer with Bush in charge.

      • CPAinNewYork

        I believe that George “Dubya” Bush was the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant because of the rampant corruption in his administration. Grant’s administration was very corrupt, but it didn’t get us involved in a war.

        • ralphkr

          Well, CPA, we must not forget that unholy trio Harding (who set the stage for the Great Depression), Coolidge (who did nothing to alleviate the pain), and Hoover (an excellent engineer and brilliant businessman who only dug our economic hole deeper). I wonder why every time we have a businessman as president the country has major economic problems.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Coolidge succeeded Wilson, who, in his re-election campaign, lied to the American people about his intention to get us involved in World War I. His campaign theme was “He kept us out of the war.” Perhaps it was Wilson’s ties to England (His mother was English.) that induced him to lie.

            I don’t think that Calvin Coolidge did much to cause America pain, mainly because he didn’t do very much as president.

          • ralphkr

            I always thought that we ignored the Monroe Doctrine & entered WW1 on the wrong side because US bankers feared for their investments in England.The Midwestern area when my grandfather homesteaded was settled by Norwegians and Germans so there were a lot of farmers upset that we were going to war against Germany…especially since so many had invested in German War Bunds.

          • CPAinNewYork

            There was considerable concern in the government over the loyalty of the German-American population at the start of World War I. Some of the Midwestern divisions were kept in the United States initially because of the large number of German- and Irish-Americans in their ranks. This suspicion re-surfaced in World War II.

          • ralphkr

            My dad told me that while he was in training he thought someone was making a bad joke when it was announced over the loudspeaker that the German-American club would be meeting that evening but it was for real. He also told me that when his company got orders to go overseas that the phones immediately had long lines. All the drafted lads were joyfully telling their family that they were finally going to get in the big show while the career soldiers (the ones with all the stripes) were busy calling their Congressman and crying that they were too valuable to waste in combat and were needed to be kept at Fort Riley to train the next batch of recruits. (I thought that it was very obvious that the recruits had swallowed all the glory of war BS while the career men were being realistic)

    • whodatbob

      You give the accounting profession a bad name!

      • CPAinNewYork

        You give the human race a bad name.

  • Mikey7a

    What a spot on article Mr. Conason! Bill AND Hilary Clinton, are two of the smartest people I know. They are also two of the most caring. This constant barrage from the Right, and the so called liberal media is disgusting.

    As for you CPAinNewYork, as far as I’m concerned, you go right in the disregard ANYthing it says pile, along with your cohorts OMG, and Lana Ward! You sir are an idiot!

    Lastly, I so hope Hilary Clinton decides to run in 2016. Should she not, you Right Wing Bastards get no relief, as Elizabeth Warren certainly will…and WIN!

  • tax payer

    One of the Senators kept moving her head often, so she may need Obamacare in the future.

  • Berkshire_Boy

    I hope Joe emailed a copy of his piece to Maggie Haberman at Politico.

  • tonyrohl

    If Hillary could invest a thousand dollars in hog futures and end up with one hundred thousand dollars, she’s the perfect person to balance the budget and reduce our national debt. I’m an eighty year old conservative, but if I’m still alive in 2016 I’ll vote for her just for the entertainment value she’ll bring to the office.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Commodities brokers just might have rigged her investments to get her that profit. When brokers pull stunts like that, it means that some other customer or customers were cheated by having the timing of their trades rigged.


    How did all these insane,made up accusations about the Clintons get in here?
    Incredible !Did’nt expect to read these “craps” posted.Never have I thought such
    mean people existed either !

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    Since it is impossible for anyone to know what anyone else does best, the only ways to find out are through competitive social processes.

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