One of my good friends is a registered Republican—although she recently told me that she’s considering a switch to being independent after the events of the last few months. She also hates Hillary Clinton. Last Sunday I asked her what was wrong with Clinton politically, and she said she’d make a list. What’s wrong with Clinton is the media. Bernie Sanders complains about how they ignore him, but he’s lucky.
Both wings of the media, love to bash Clinton while they give Sanders a walk. A prime example is the massive number of complaints about Clinton supporting the omnibus crime bill in 1994 that included the federal “three strikes” provision. Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the same bill—as did many other liberals—but the media ignores that vote. Trevor Noah, the un-funny replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, has declared open season on Clinton, but Sanders gets Noah’s weak “heh heh.”
Alternet, a progressive website self-described as a “syndication service and online community of the alternative press,” almost exclusively prints anti-Clinton and pro-Sanders articles. Just Google the two names separately with “alternet” to see the difference. (Caveat: it did reprint Gabler’s article referenced below about media attacks on Clinton.)
Some of the Alternet’s puff pieces about Sanders might have shreds of truth, but the reprint of Arturo Garcia’s article from Raw Story about Chris Hayes’ joint interview with former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and economist Robert Reich uses a headline about how “Reich “schools” that was a blatant and total misrepresentation of the information. Reich was unable to answer Frank’s questions about banks “too big to fail.” Frank kept asking “how big is too big,” and Reich just said, “They are already too big to fail.” Garcia failed to give Frank’s detailed information in comparison to Reich’s generalizations.
As Neal Gabler wrote on Moyers & Company, the media is sticking to its standard position that Clinton can do nothing right. After it destroyed Donald Trump, it had more time to devote to the next candidate they love to hate, Clinton–“the media’s national pinata.” Over and over, the media declares that she lies, she is a pawn of the rich, she is dishonest. They repeat the same mantra over and over with little basis.
The entire focus on emails from private servers is directed at Clinton, despite the fact that it has been a common practice even by the most recent Secretary of Defense. George W. Bush’s White House destroyed tens of millions of emails, and the GOP said “good” because they were run through private accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee. Karl Rove used RNC email servers for 95 percent of his communications, and all the emails have disappeared with no congressional investigations. GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie hid thousands of emails concealing his part in “Bridgegate,” dangerously closing the busiest bridge in the world with no objection from Republicans.
The media obsesses about the “classified” emails on the private server although these emails were not “classified” until much later. Yet every release of emails results in more headlines claiming Clinton’s wrongdoing. According to the media, 147 FBI agents have been assigned to Clinton’s emails because an unnamed “lawmaker” said so. Investigation revealed the possibility of fewer than 50, and FBI experts told NBC that this number is largely overstated. But the media continues with the later number.
Another attack on Clinton comes because of the four people killed during the attacks at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Again, more and more investigations from 32 congressional hearings resulting in 11 written reports, all costing over $20 million. During Ronald Reagan’s first reign, 254 servicemen were killed at a Lebanese diplomatic outpost after the military command left a vehicle gate open and ordered sentries to keep weapons unloaded. Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill asked for one investigation which made recommendations for better security measures. Less than five months later, CIA’s station chief in Beirut, Bill Buckley, was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Reagan’s response to the lack of safety measures leading to Buckley’s death was that a kitchen can’t be quickly remodeled. There were no public hearings and no investigations. Perpetrators, not political rivals, were blamed.
Sally Quinn, the wife of conservative Washington Post’s executive editor Ben Bradlee, basically called the Clintons country bumpkins who had sullied the White House and Washington. The Clintons were always punished for trying to enter the Washington society. The media jumped on NYT’s accusation from Jeff Gerth, either implausible or false, to accuse the Clintons of fraud in Whitewater. This non-scandal led to more stories that created the myth of untrustworthiness, perpetrated by the media for almost 25 years. Instead of looking for truth, the media made money.
The accusations continue. Clinton takes money from the coal and oil industry, according to Sanders, and the media leaped on his statement. Even the conservative Washington Post fact-checker gave the claim three “Pinocchios” out of four because Clinton’s money comes only from the industry’s employees—just as some of Sanders’ money does.
The media keeps falsely communicating that Clinton might not win the presidency even if she is the candidate because people don’t like her or they’re not enthusiastic. Gallup Poll checked up and found that Clinton supporters are extremely or very enthusiastic by 54 percent as compared to only 44 percent of Sanders supporters for him.
A year ago, Politico’s Dylan Byers said, “The national media has never been more primed to take down Hillary Clinton.” The same press corps, he added, is poised to “elevate a Republican candidate.” No one objected to his comments that Clinton faces a tougher press than her opponents. Gone are the days when journalists thought their job was to report on what happens rather than destroy a viable candidate. Make that a Democratic candidate. The press didn’t attack Trump until the GOP establishment made clear that they wanted another candidate.
Eight years ago, Dana Milbank stated, “The press will savage [Clinton] no matter what.” Journalists simply “dislike” her. When Clinton answered tons of media questions early in her run, the press attacked her and stated that her answers were all wrong. No matter what she does, the press’s goal is to take her down.
Hillary Clinton should smile more. She should be friendlier. Her voice is too loud. She shouts. She sounds angry. She should pick John Kasich for a vice-presidential candidate if she wins the candidacy. This last one from Chris Matthews may be one of the craziest comments I’ve heard about her.
All the presidents who had sexual affairs—including Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy—got a walk for them. Republicans decided to impeach Bill Clinton for consensual sex. George W. Bush started a permanent war in the Middle East that has thus far cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars with no intelligence that Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction. His actions killed hundreds of thousands of people, and even people who know he was wrong just say we should forget it because it’s in the past. Ted Cruz has threatened to “spank” Clinton.
The conservative media want Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate so that they can trash him in the general election. The so-called liberal media, owned by big corporations, either want the same thing or they just continue their tradition of hating the Clintons.
What makes the press the angriest is that they can’t find anything wrong with her policies. They have to trash her personality, appearance, past votes, etc. Like Sanders, Clinton is progressive, but Sanders makes visionary statements about a political revolution with no plans to carry it out in a time when the GOP refuses to compromise on anything. Clinton keeps fighting for causes, admitting that she can’t always achieve perfection. (Sanders admits the same thing, but his supporters overlook how he agrees with Clinton.) Clinton wants to build on past successes; Sanders wants to tear down what’s happened and start over. The media just wants to tear down Clinton. We all want idealism, but if we don’t settle for pragmatism—and fight the media—we’ll get GOP destruction.
[Update: An earlier version of this blog stated that “Clinton voted in favor of the omnibus crime bill.” In 1994 she was First Lady, not Senator. In fact, she has been recently criticized for “supporting” the bill. The blog has been changed to reflect that correction.]