Nope, that clickbait-worthy headline was not meant to be sarcastic – I’m dead serious. If nothing else, Hillary Clinton’s early presidential campaign strategy has been interesting. She’s been getting tons of press for the fact that she… refuses to talk to the press. The Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti reports:
This strategy of press avoidance worked for Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe in 2013 when he was elected governor of Virginia. McAuliffe rarely if ever spoke to reporters, and instead visited with carefully selected businesses and interest groups and sob stories to whom he would nod sympathetically and explain, in the vaguest of ways, how he would make the commonwealth a better, more progressive place. McAuliffe’s campaign manager was Robby Mook, who now performs the same job for Clinton. The lesson he must have drawn from his Virginia experience was that the press, at best, is a nuisance and irrelevant to the outcome of an election. Strategic communications, lots of money, television advertising that defines one’s opponent as extreme, and the Democratic “coalition of the ascendant” are enough to win.
At least it’s enough to win Virginia in a—surprisingly close—off-year election. But treating the press with contempt may not work at the presidential level. On the contrary: It could backfire. Not because voters care about how the press is being treated; they don’t. But because the media are exactly that: the medium through which a candidate is presented to the public. Disturb the medium, tic off its individual components, and the presentation may begin to change.
By not talking to the press Clinton has made a strategic choice, as valid as any other. But it may be the wrong choice—in fact it probably is the wrong choice, because most of the choices Hillary Clinton has made since 2006 have been bad. She lost the Democratic nomination, she was the top foreign policy official for a president who is widely seen to have bungled foreign policy, she joined the ethically murky Clinton Foundation and gave high-paying speeches to business groups despite knowing she’d soon be running for president.
The press is getting pretty unhappy about their treatment, as Chuck Todd complained (H/T Vodkapundit):
Journalists complaining about getting more access to political candidates is nothing new, but the escalating tensions between the press and the Clinton campaign expose what we think could end up looking like a big strategic blunder for the Democratic candidate. Clinton, staffed by plenty of White House alums, is essentially running as a presidential incumbent, except without a day job. By trying to play by the same set of rules that govern the White House press corps (background briefings, tightly regulated pool coverage, and very limited questions to the principal), Team Clinton is playing into the exact narrative they’ve pledged to avoid – appearing to hold a coronation, not a contest. If the media feels as if Clinton has the attitude that her campaign is above press accountability, the coverage is going to reflect that. And by the way, this isn’t just about playing nice with reporters and bringing donuts to the back of the campaign bus. It’s about treating the process with respect. [emphasis added]
The Vodkapundit goes on to address the point he emphasized:
Really then, Todd’s complaint is more personal; it’s that He Himself (and others like him) aren’t being given their due. These complaints aren’t about respect for some “process” which is largely a matter of customs which are no older than I am. These complaints are about the Big Name Stars not being given Their Access after carrying so much water for the Clintons going back a quarter of a century. Todd’s complaint, really, is that the other hand isn’t washing the one, that Hillary Clinton (who belongs in jail) isn’t scratching his back after he scratched hers.
If Todd and the rest of the Whiner Brigade were serious about getting access to Clinton, they’d ignore her in return. There’s no reason actual network need to provide real coverage to a campaign and a candidate which are so clearly fake. So put the water down, stop scratching her back — and see how quickly Clinton comes around.
Erik Wemple at The Washington Post cited several media outlets venting their frustration with the lack of access and warned that
Media organizations are at the wrong end of a power dynamic vis-a-vis the Clinton campaign: They number in the hundreds — thousands, perhaps — and they’re all vying for whatever meal scraps they can scrounge up. There aren’t too many levers that reporters can pull to change that imbalance. Publicly chiding the campaign’s briefings is one of them, however.
While Continetti did a good job of listing some topics that Hillary would rather not take questions for – foreign policy disasters, Clinton Foundation, high paid speeches, he also left out the notable other blemishes of the private e-mail server, its lack of security, along with the web between her job as Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation and various foreign favors that were sold. And ther’es the 800 pound gorilla in the room of the fact that this woman who many feminists see as a role model to women is someone who many times lied to cover for her serial sexual harasser / alleged (which if he weren’t a powerful leftist would mean “guilty”) rapist husband.
I think that all three of the authors I cited each slightly missed the mark, though. Continetti is simply writing off not talking to the press as merely another bad decision by Clinton. Although Steven Green did a good job of taking down Chuck Todd’s complaints, he still misses the mark in suggesting that the media can start ignoring her campaign events – if they do they’ll be giving up ground to the armies of small outlets that would happily gain credibility by filling that void.
At the end of the day, Hillary knows that the media will be her toadies. If she chose to talk to them she would inevitably be asked questions about various topics that she does not want to respond to. In the meantime, the media will dutifully pay lip service to these shortcomings for a few weeks before moving onto the next scandal, or better, focus on some reason to hate the many Republican candidates who’ve joined the race. She’s just following the precedent that President Obama has set of just waiting out the press to get bored with each of his many scandals and not have to pay any price for it. The main obstacle that Clinton has to face for the next nine months or so is to fend off any potential primary challengers. The Dems’ bench is pretty thin – as of this writing her only challengers are Bernie Sanders, who is hoping to bring to America the economics that made Venezuela what it is today, and Martin O’Malley, who is hoping to bring the to America the same governance that made Baltimore what it is today. Once she has the nomination wrapped up, she only has to stall for a little while longer until the GOP nominee is named and her minions in the press will dutifully focus on whatever talking points they’re given to hate whoever the nominee is. And by then of course, she can talk to the press once every scandal of hers is “old news.”
Jonah Goldberg wrote a lengthy but excellent piece on what a great job they do of gaslighting the American people: First focusing on Bill, Goldberg points out that:
A truly sociopathic liar (though his sociopathologies hardly end there), Clinton has a gift for making other people feel like there is something wrong with them for objecting to his deceptions.
Then, the country was presented with proof, incremental and suggestive at first, overwhelming and indisputable by the end of the decade, that Bill Clinton was an irrepressible and irresponsible sexual predator, at least by the moral and evidentiary standards established by feminist activists and the press corps that loves them. And, rather than face the consequences of applying their own principles consistently, they prostrated themselves to the Oval Office. Gloria Steinem raced to the pages of the New York Times to advance the “one free grope” rule. Susan Estrich, Susan Faludi, and countless other professional feminists defenestrated their principles in a desperate attempt to defend Clinton.
It was a perfect example of what Lord Acton really meant by power corrupting. He didn’t mean that rulers are corrupted by power, he meant that intellectuals become corrupted by their worship of the powerful.
It’s long, but well worth your time to read the whole thing.
At the end of the day, the press’ leftist agenda will trump whatever dislike they have for Clinton, and their resources will be dedicated to destroying her Republican opponent. If you don’t believe me, look at how CNN recently dutifully accepted Clinton’s recent “impromptu” run in with a random citizen quoting scripture to her. Despite her snubs of the press she’s still being fawned over by the sycophants over at The Washington Post and Politico. And apparently $100,000 can still buy some pretty impressive advertising (or as they prefer to call it, “news reporting”) in the New York Times.
Please don’t mistake this post for me anointing Hillary as our next president – I’m not. Unless Jeb somehow gets the nomination, of course. My point is that for all of the dung storm of controversy flying around her, hunkering down and controlling as much of her tarnished as possible is the smartest possible thing she could do right now. But this hardly makes her presidency a foregone conclusion. Remember how in 2008 she was outflanked by an upstart whelp when she failed to realize that the rules had shifted and she was fighting the last war.
We’re already seeing conservatives launching their own insurgency, between Carly Fiorina trolling Clinton’s press conferences, to street artists mocking her relationship with George Stephanapolous. And don’t even get me started on that beautiful S.O.B of a street artist out in LA, SABO – the image at the top of this post is one of his creations. `
It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next year and a half. Given the rules on the ground now, the game Hillary is playing is her best one. But the game changed in 2008, and 2016 will certainly see more changes. Fighting the last war may not be a winning strategy, because in the worlds of the immortal Rowdy Roddy Piper, “Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions!”
I’ll leave you with what has become my favorite tweet turning the New York Times’ hit piece involving Marco Rubio’s “speedboat” and turning it against their patron. Expect a lot more of this:
Hey check it out: I put Rubio’s boat in Hillary’s swimming pool to scale. pic.twitter.com/VFpxsvYtnV
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) June 10, 2015
The funny (or not so funny) thing is, I’m old enough to remember when accepting bribes from foreign governments to help put nukes in the hands of the Russians and terrorists was actually considered treason.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog