I've tried not to go after Hillary Clinton too much, first because it would be tiresomely biased, and next because this isn't an anti-Clinton blog per se; in terms of political analysis, it's more an extended musing on whether or not I should move my family to Vancouver, Ireland, or Argentina. I do not wonder alone; last week, Lord Wife walked up to me out of the blue and said, "If he (John McCain) wins, we're leaving, right?" This would seem to be an extreme option, but it's only an inconvenient one requiring close attention to a barometer. At best, the US faces some daunting challenges over the next few years; metaphorically, there are hangovers, and there are liver diseases. This country faces both, and "moments of clarity" are shortly in order.
Deep-background articles like the one below by Michael Crowley, published in the wonkish New Republic last June, confirmed what vectors the country would steer for with the Clintons conning the helm again. It also explains much about reporters' motivations, first in handling that family with kid gloves, and now with dirks:
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.Continue reading here.
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."
Despite all the grumbling, however, the press has showered Hillary with strikingly positive coverage. "It's one of the few times I've seen journalists respect someone for beating the hell out of them," says a veteran Democratic media operative. The media has paved a smooth road for signature campaign moments like Hillary's campaign launch and her health care plan rollout and has dutifully advanced campaign-promoted themes like Hillary's "experience" and expertise in military affairs. This is all the more striking in light of the press's past treatment of Clinton--particularly during her husband's White House years--including endless stories about her personal ethics, frostiness, and alleged Lady Macbeth persona.It's enough to make you suspect that breeding fear and paranoia within the press corps is itself part of the Clinton campaign's strategy. 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.