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November 12, 2007

TNR Slams Hillary For Manipulating, Attempting To "Muzzle" Negative Stories About Her -- And Positive Stories About Any Rivals

Beauchamp, etc. But it's a good piece. See How She Runs and you know how she'll govern, too.

Penchant for secrecy? Check. An "ill-wind chilling political dissent"? Check. Mau-mauing the media into reporting her faith-based view of the world? Check and check.

And while the media hated George Bush for these supposed offenses, they seem oddly reluctant to slap Hillary for attempting the same things.

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....

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. "The Bush administration changed the rules," as one scribe puts it--and the Clintonites like the way they look.


Several sources report hearing that the Clinton campaign has bragged about forcing one reporter at a major news organization from the Hillary beat. The boast, which one source heard from a senior Hillary aide, is incorrect. But the claim has become a part of insider Washington lore. Like the tale of the killed GQ story, it has only enhanced the dark mythology of the Hillary machine--a mythology the Clintonites don't dispel. "They brag about scalps that they take, " says a Democratic operative who has heard such tales.

Most Democrats in Washington agree that, had John Kerry responded more effectively to conservative "Swift Boat" attacks about his war record in the summer of 2004, he would be president today. And, if the Clinton campaign is overzealous, some say, it's because they are determined to avoid the alternative. "There's a Swift Boat around every corner," says one Democratic operative close to the campaign. "We'll be damned if we're going to let that happen again." Almost as important--in the Democratic primaries, at least--it is determined to show that it won't let that happen again. "They've cultivated this attack-machine image because they think that Democrats want that," says one political reporter. "They're pandering to the bloggers."

Although this may seem like minor stuff -- ragging out reporters isn't any threat to democracy -- it is interesting to see how reporters cover up for Hillary's tactics in this regard.

With Bush, such tactics not only don't work but are actually front-paged as stories about the Growing Fascism in America (TM).

But they're rolling over for Hillary -- which does not bode well for the future, or for the press' (giggle) supposed job of a watchdog over government. At least not when a Democrat is involved. Whether the claim is true or not, the Hillary camp is bragging about getting media people they don't like fired or reassigned to less important positions -- and yet the media as a whole doesn't find this disturbing.

Incidentally, the article also notes the strangely coordinated (and, perhaps, illegally coordinated) behavior of Media Matters in roughing up any reporter who's not nice to Hillary.

Related: It appears that Hillary was told which student to call on at that planted question fiasco, despite claims from her machine that she wasn't told who to call on and didn't know anything about it.

Interestingly, the reporter covering this story is one Patrick Healy-- mentioned in the TNR piece as getting a dose of Hillary hate after he dared to write a positive, humanizing piece about Barack Obama.

Although I scoffed when the TNR article suggested that maybe there's a backlash a-comin', who knows, perhaps there is. (Or perhaps it's just that Healy has a good relationship with the Obama camp, who fed him this story.)

Both Hillary and the media are arrogant, condescending, thin-skinned harridans contemptuous of anyone who doesn't bow to their own sense of superiority... or more accurately supremacy. I don't know if DC can hold all their egos simultaneously. Could be some hard elbows thrown in the future.

Also Related: Mickey Kaus will be thrilled to hear that the Hillary-is-having-a-lesbian-affair-with-Huma reason just got 1% more support.

Seems like Hillary!, and only Hillary!, has the sort of pull with the media to kill a big juicy sex-scandal story.

digg this
posted by Ace at 10:51 PM

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