Wednesday, April 18, 2007

# Posted 11:42 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHY CAN'T THE PRESS BE FAIR TO HILLARY? I may like what they're saying, but I still know the difference between facts and spin. Here are the most flagrant parts of a front-page story about Mrs. Clinton from Wednesday's WaPo:
In the 6 1/2 years since she was elected to the Senate, Clinton has paid close attention to the constituent services and pork-barrel politics that earned one of her predecessors, Republican Alfonse M. D'Amato, the nickname "Senator Pothole."...

[Clinton's] emphasis on small-scale initiatives rather than ambitious ones was famously championed by Mark Penn, her campaign pollster and chief strategist, when he worked for President Bill Clinton nearly a decade ago...

Over time, she has evolved into a hybrid legislator, a figure of outsize influence but limited scope, offering no big initiatives...

Her tenure speaks more to her work habits than to the ambitious vision many voters tend to look for in a presidential hopeful...

Clinton has carved out an unusual niche in her six years on Capitol Hill: Senator Pothole with a celebrity twist. Too new to sit on the Appropriations Committee, the traditional pipeline to pork, Clinton compensates by taking advantage of her high profile and a deep Rolodex to dole out favors like a ward boss -- even as she launches a White House campaign.
Maybe some of you are still expecting a punchline like "Haha. Those are actually quotes from a nasty editorial in the National Review." But no, they're not.

Naturally, all of this raises the question of whether the media has a liberal bias or is really just an equal-opportunity pol basher. Of course, it isn't that simple. Yes, journalists are negative by training. But that negativism appears in many interesting and unpredictable ways.

The most interesting contrast right now is in the red-carpet coverage being given to Obama and the cynical interpretations of absolutely everything done by Hillary. Personally, I think it comes down to perceptions of authenticity. He creates them, she doesn't.

Labels: ,

(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.
I'm sure saying Obama is sometimes inauthentic is a form of violence; but if the press were really concerned about such matters, that speech would be getting more attention.

Isn't it plausible that Obama is getting better coverage than Hillary because he is further left, where the journalists are? He opposed the war from the start, and he isn't talking about leaving 80,000 troops in country.
In 2004, I put up several posts about how the press were not giving Howard Dean fair coverage. I argued then and would argue now that journalists tend toward the center-left and tend to be dismissive of those they consider too liberal.

Thus, I don't think Obama's better coverage reflects his position on the political spectrum. Generally speaking, he isn't much to Hillary's left. And Hillary has such a long record of liberal activism that she should be getting better coverage if ideology is all that matters.

Hypothetically, one might say that the war is such a big issue that Obama is being rewarded for taking the preferred position on that issue alone. Yet he doesn't just get good coverage when it comes to Iraq. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Re: perception of authority; it is difficult to create what you can't define. Hillary hasn't a clue as to who she. Clearly Obama does.

Really, does anyone believe she would have been elected if she weren't Wife Of Bill?
If authenticity were so important, I would think Kerry would have been in for rougher treatment. He's dismissed now because he's clearly unelectable, and I would argue that if Dean was discounted in 2004 (though I remember him being the hot thing until people started voting), it's because the press recognized he was unelectable too.

Hillary's not being dismissed, she's being attacked, and I think the press is angry that a potentially electable Democrat isn't far left enough for them. As the reference to Mark Penn reminds me, her co-President caught flak for the same reason. I'll agree that there's not much daylight between Hillary and Obama on issues beside the war, but that still means Obama is to the left on one tremendously important issue.

And I hope you agree that authenticity is at best a tiebreaker for the Democratic primary. It didn't seem to help the Republican in the Bush-Clinton, Clinton-Dole, or Bush-Kerry elections.
I get the feeling that many Democrats feel that while Hillary says most of the right things and votes the right way most of the time, she doesn't have the passion that the Iraq war was not just mishandled but wrong from the start. That means she's not really "one of us." Like Joe Lieberman, she must be taken down.

There may be an analogy with 1968. Hubert Humphrey had a long liberal voting record but he was LBJ's vice-president and had supported the war until recently. George McGovern's slogan "right from the start" emphasized that he was the genuine passionate anti-war candidate. Many of McGovern's supporters couldn't stand Humphrey.

If there is a significant overlap between left-wing Democrats and the press, there might be a real distaste for Hillary which would show up in coverage of her. Nothing deliberately partisan; just a feeling that "I know the truth about her and I'm not going to let her fool people into thinking she's better than she is."

This would imply that Hillary will get bad coverage as long as, but no longer than, she has a viable, more passionately anti-Iraq, opponent. I.e., Present day Obama would count; Kucinich wouldn't.

This may be one reason part of her campaign strategy has been to try to develop a preception of "inevitability" about her nomination. In that case, she has no viable Democratic opponents.
I think that deep down many democrats believe that Senator Clinton is not electable. Despite her more recent moderate record, she is generally viewed as liberal. Democrats have learned the hard way that image and personality are more important than issues and integrity. That would explain the unequal treatment of Clinton vs. Obama.
Post a Comment