The role of the media in this process is to show voters who these people are, really, and to explain how these people would govern the country if elected. Like the media or not, that’s a very important role — and one that is essential to a functioning democracy. – Chris Cillizza
WATCHING THE Media Whines About Hillary spectacle, I have to admit I’m enjoying the establishment press angst over Hillary Clinton’s state of mind over media that’s tying them in knots. Imagine what the 2016 campaign trajectory looks like inside camp Clinton. A long road would be an understatement. Then there’s the most obvious point, which is Hillary Clinton is the biggest story that can be reported, she knows it, her campaign certainly knows it, and so do media outlets that are being frozen out, because she knows when she wants them they’ll come running.
It’s leading to other stories that are inflaming the picture, something Hillary Clinton knows simply has to burn itself out.
Welcome to the media environment in 2016. The big media dogs aren’t the Big Media Dogs anymore and candidates like Hillary Clinton don’t really need you. So, what are you going to do, boys and girls? How are you going to adapt, because there’s no compelling reason why Hillary Clinton should.
As for comparing Republican candidates talking to the media versus Hillary, you’re kidding, right? That Ms. Clinton is actually responding feels more like throwing crumbs to the starving than anything else.
Now, let me also say that I wish Hillary Clinton was just letting it rip. I’m a fan of Ms. Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” and “baking cookies” bravado, even though having watched it and covered it I also know the cost. HRC today has so much juice that when The Hill blasted the headline, “Carly Versus Godzillary,” which is not my usual reaction when Hillary is compared to a monster, I laughed out loud. For those feint of heart and with a lack of perspective, let’s not pretend that taking on Hillary isn’t like facing a political behemoth. Republicans are so outmatched in a contest with her, as if the GOP would ever put a woman at the top of the ticket, the “monster” reference was actually apt.
Jay Rosen had a priceless response to the Washington Post’s Cillizza yesterday. It also went a long way in describing why I’ve been scratching my head at all the caterwauling, as if by virtue of being THE WASHINGTON POST, Hillary Clinton is supposed to give a flying fig.
The role of the media in this process? What on earth are you talking about, Chris?
You’re supposed to be our super-savvy guide to the way things are in the power game that is national politics. You are the least sentimental creature to walk that system’s halls… remember? No one can out-realism you! You’re Mister “let me tell you how it really works.” That’s your whole franchise. And yet here you are, bawling about “the role of the media” as if it had some sort of guaranteed status within what reporters (mindlessly) call the process.
Yahoo PR has not called me back in three years, and somehow I write. Kara Swisher isn’t lecturing Yahoo executives, users of Yahoo, or readers of tech coverage about some imaginary “role in the process.” She knows that it’s up to Yahoo executives to decide whether they want to talk to her. And it’s up to her to find out what’s happening at Yahoo, regardless of whether the company decides to talk.
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) May 18, 2015
Not for nothing, but the recent earned criticism of Mark Halperin, which offered another opportunity to dump on the troubled “With All Due Respect,” ignores that John Heilemann and his stumbling co-host are definitely whining, but they’re also going out to where the candidates are courting voters. Getting the Iowa perspective about Hillary Clinton’s campaign this time around, the reviews aren’t positive so far. There are strongholds of pro Hillary support, as told by Iowans who know the landscape, but…
Hillary’s crowds are reportedly carefully crafted, which I don’t think she needs, though I understand this far out ramping it up gradually is as much a point of endurance as anything else. No one likes to talk about the physical aspect of it all, but considering what 2008 and being secretary of state obviously cost Clinton physically, as it would any man, it’s not lost on the candidate or her campaign that she needs to take 2016 as a marathon, not a sprint.
The foundation to all the whining is that the establishment media has lost its impact with the politically powerful, because the new media landscape gives vast options to politicians and their campaigns that have neutered the prowess of the elite press a great deal. Weirdly, after well over a decade of warning on how this landscape was changing, people like Chris Cillizza , Ruth Marcus, the entire Fox News Channel network, can’t grasp life without it.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton couldn’t care less. She’s not concerned about the feelings of the American establishment media.
My advice to Cillizza, Ruth Marcus and their elite house of cards is to tap local reporters, which is what Halperin and Heilemann are doing, ham-handed clichés and all. If you don’t think giving local criticism a wider audience won’t get Hillary’s attention you simply don’t understand what team Clinton is orchestrating from Iowa to Brooklyn and beyond.
Nothing about the political press makes it an inherent “part of the process.” The sooner that fiction is abandoned the better off producers of campaign coverage will be. You have to compete. Or as Jack Nicholson says in The Departed: “No one gives it to you. You have to take it.”
TM Note: Post updated; the incomprehensible made more readable.