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“Time For Media Reassessment”: After Super Tuesday, It’s Time For The Press To Drop Its Doomsday Clinton Coverage

The time has come for the campaign press to finally pack away its Hillary Clinton doomsday script.

Since the new year, much of the Clinton campaign coverage has revolved around trying to detail her weaknesses, stitching together scenarios where she would fail, and just generally bemoaning what an awful campaign she was supposedly running: She’s too loud! And “everything” is going wrong.

In fact, the primary season has unfolded in the way level-headed observers suggested it might: Iowa was close, Sanders enjoyed a clear advantage in New Hampshire, and then Clinton started accumulating victories. But instead of telling that sober story, the press opted for a far more tantalizing tale — a Clintoncollapse! A 2008 repeat! Even when Clinton did win, the press often stressed how her victories weren’t really victories. (Politico claimed Clinton was “stung” by her narrow Iowa win.)

The narrative has been tightly knit: Voters don’t really like her.

“In reality, nobody is that excited about Hillary Clinton, and young voters, women and men — the foot soldiers of any Democratic Party movement — aren’t coming around,” BuzzFeed reported. Days later, Clinton won women voters in South Carolina by nearly 50 points.

Keep in mind, Clinton’s win-loss primary record today doesn’t look that much different from Donald Trump’s. Yet his coverage is delivered in the glow of a celebrity; of a candidate who’s enjoying an astounding run of unmatched victories. Instead, the tone and tenor of Clinton’s coverage this year often mirrored that of Jeb Bush’s — the guy who ran a historically futile campaign and dropped out without winning a state.

By all indications the Democratic primary contest will march on, and Clinton remains a ways away from securing the delegates needed to officially secure the nomination. But in the wake of Super Tuesday and Clinton’s widespread primary success, this seems like a good time for the press to reassess its coverage; to maybe reset how it sees the campaign, and specifically adjust the at-times comically doomsday coverage it continued to heap on the Democratic frontrunner.

Request to the media: Please take your thumb off the scale. In fact, please take both thumbs off the scale.

Trust me, critics of the Clinton coverage aren’t looking for the Democratic frontrunner to get a free pass. Close observers of the Clintons over the years know that’s just never going to happen. They just want a fair shot. They’d like the press to go back to its job of simply reporting and analyzing what’s happening on the campaign trail and to get out of the narrative-building business. Stop with the hyperventilating that every Clinton campaign speed bump seems to produce, and stop trying to force-feed voters a story that’s not actually happening.

The cyclical waves of she’s-doomed coverage have become as tiresome as they are predictable:

*During Clinton’s summer of 2014 book tour, which the press announced was a complete “disaster.”

*During March of 2015 when the Clinton email story broke.

*During the Clinton Foundation witch hunt in May of last year.

*During renewed email fever last September when the Washington Post averaged more than two Clinton email updates every day of the month.

On and on this production has run.

But was it really that bad this winter? Consider that this was an actual headline from a February Washington Post column, “Clinton email scandal: Why It Might Be Time For Democrats To Draft Joe Biden.”

Yep. Democrats might need to replace Clinton.

On the eve of the Nevada vote, Vanity Fair insisted Clinton allies were “panicking,” and that anything short of a “blowout” win would be “disastrous” for her campaign. Indeed, when Clinton won by five points, Vanity Fair announced she had lost “her narrative.”

Author Gail Sheehy, writing a piece for The New York Times, claimed Baby Boomer women weren’t supporting Clinton’s campaign, when in fact Baby Boomer women are among Clinton’s most ardent supporters.

And reporting from South Carolina, the Post stressed that Bill Clinton was causing all kinds of “headaches” for the campaign by being caught “on the wrong side of the headlines.” Critiquing his campaign persona, the Post insisted “he seems to lose it,” pointing to his “apparent vitriol.” Hillary Clinton’s subsequent 47-point victory in South Carolina raised doubts about the paper’s claim that Bill Clinton was hurting the campaign.

Meanwhile, Post columnist Kathleen Parker, leaning on the she’s-doomed narrative, painted an extraordinarily negative picture of Clinton’s chances of winning in the Palmetto state. Parker claimed Clinton was entering “troubled water” in South Carolina and “particularly among African Americans.”

Fact: Clinton won 86 percent of the South Carolina African-American vote. As a pundit, it’s hard to be more wrong than Parker was.

Can you imagine scribes typing up articles and columns this winter about how Bernie Sanders was having trouble attracting young voters and arguing that if he couldn’t tap into the enthusiasm of millennials his campaign was doomed? Of course not, because that would have made no sense. Yet that didn’t stop people from writing about how Clinton was struggling with women and black voters, even though the premises were so easily debunked.

Those are the Clinton Rules: Anything goes. There’s no penalty for being wrong about the Clintons, which of course only encourages people to be as illogical as they want when chronicling her campaign.

But now as the contours of the looming general election race come into view, it’s time now for an honest media reassessment.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters For America, March 2, 2016

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Press, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Multifaceted Clinton, A Cubist Masterpiece”: Vastly Conflicting Views Of Clinton Every 24 Hours

Picasso would love Hillary Clinton, with her constantly changing Cubist angles. Painting the 68-year-old — from Illinois, New York, Washington or Arkansas, take your pick — would never grow old. Even the master might have a hard time capturing her character and pinning it down.

As fickle, fateful Iowa caucuses come Monday, presidential candidates have been sized up like livestock at the state fair. None more than Clinton. She took all tough questions thrown at her at the town hall with verve.

It’s abundantly clear that she’s got game, playing to win in a state where she lost to freshman Senator Barack Obama, whose words touched the stars in 2008.

The first black president made multitudes rejoice, but his record of advancing the social status of blacks is thin, reactive, lukewarm at best. Ending solitary confinement for juveniles took seven years.

His singing graced the mourning of a tragic race-related murder in South Carolina, but I mean Martin Luther King Jr.-level advancements, like rights, jobs, wages, education, laws and opportunity.

Will Clinton do better by women? Sure hope so. She believes in progress by laws, she said.

Beholding the cusp of the first woman American president, I encounter vastly conflicting views of Clinton every 24 hours. They are like snowflakes in your eyes in a storm, for she means many different things.

Take two Midwestern girls. Mackenzie and Jordynn, African-American sisters, ages 6 and 4. “My girls now want to be president because of her,” their mother Jencelyn King-Witzel told me.

Girls can’t vote, but they can dream. Mothers are taking daughters on the Clinton campaign trail so they will remember this moment in history.

A 5-year-old in my family was asked if she wanted to campaign for Clinton in another state. She went upstairs and packed her suitcase.

On the other end of the spectrum, take brilliant memoirist Susan Groag Bell, the late women’s historian whose 90th birthday would have been this week. Born to elegance in Central Europe, Susan and her mother escaped the Nazis, but her father was deported to a concentration camp.

Susan was educated in England, from age 12, by the kindness shown to war refugees. She studied at Stanford University and lived in California, where she picked up her pen to write and teach pathbreaking studies of European women’s lives, including Christine de Pisan, a medieval French poet. Susan lived until 2015, but would have dearly wished to witness a woman president.

The Washington Post conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, just took a more jaded view of Clinton, her fellow baby boomer: “Or, is it that she is reflexively prone to dissemble?”

Journalists are a skeptical lot, and have pursued Clinton’s husband hard for an unseemly affair that was a private sin, not a constitutional crime. Some seem unwilling to forgive her for his betrayal.

Parker revived an infamous line by William Safire, the late op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 1996, Safire labeled the first lady “a congenital liar” as the Whitewater investigation raged against the Clintons, which, by the way, led like a snake to the sex scandal. How convenient. His enemies thought President Clinton was the Titanic, but he was the iceberg.

And Hillary Clinton is the shipwreck survivor. Another Cubist view.

A senior military man feels open to supporting Clinton, but fears her private email record, with careless handling of secret material as secretary of state, may lead to an indictment for her or her top aides.

A pragmatic read is that nothing will soon get done on the domestic policy front, with Congress wrangling, but Clinton is the best-prepared candidate to handle foreign policy.

Yes, she mended fences around the world as Obama’s star Cabinet player. Then again, she voted for the Iraq War; the lady is a hawk. It took Clinton a decade to admit that major mistake as senator. She has her pride, a character flaw. You can see it now, how hard it is to say sorry. Strong women are like that.

If you believe in something cosmic stirring, the morning after the snowstorm in Washington, Jan. 26, only two women senators were on the floor, with only women there to start morning business. “As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female,” said Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

That first in history felt “genuinely fabulous.”

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, , Featured Post, The National Memo, January 29, 2016

January 31, 2016 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucuses, Journalists | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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