Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the press

The press has an interesting complaint about Hillary Clinton: not that she doesn't talk to them - she does. She gives hundreds of interviews, she has about one press gaggle every two weeks, she literally talks to everyone who comes near. But just like Trump, she hasn't set up a press pool. And more importantly to them, she hasn't held a formal press conference since last year, and this makes them pissy.

Now, let's be clear on this. They want to spin those last two points into "she doesn't talk to the press!" But that's obviously a lie. Their problem isn't that she's not talking to the press, but that she isn't doing it like they want her to do it. She doesn't duct-tape reporters to her ass and drag them behind her in a mewling mass. She doesn't charter a plane for them, serve them meals and charge their phones when their batteries are getting low.

Really, this is more of a reflection on the state of our media than Hillary Clinton. They're lazy; they just want to be handed entire stories that they can file without doing any actual work. And Hillary Clinton doesn't do their jobs for them, and this makes them unhappy.

At last estimate, in May, she had given 300 interviews, so it's clear that she's obviously not avoiding the press. So what's their problem?

Really, there are three factors at play here. First, the press is in an abusive relationship with Donald Trump: he holds "press conferences" where he openly lies to them, and they report it without question. Admittedly, there's a good reason for that: anytime they point out the actual facts, he insults them, calls them dishonest, or actually bans them from events. (Admittedly, by banning the Washington Post, they've started to do actual reporting, and point out what a lying bag of ass the cheddar-colored fuckweasel actually is.)

Second, there's a little bit of a history between the Clintons and the press. There is a well-documented right-wing movement to try to paint the Clintons in the worst light possible, and the media has been complicit in this conspiracy in their refusal to actually do their jobs: they'll unquestioningly reprint press releases, and always accept the sordid insinuation over actual consideration of facts, if the insinuation will get noticed.

News, after all, is a business: it's long been a maxim that "if it bleeds, it leads." The stories that sell papers (or that more people will click on) have to have priority if they want to make any money. They don't have time for nuanced reflection on complex topics: they have to appeal to the base instincts of an audience with an eighth-grade education at best. The business isn't journalism any more; it's more accurate to call it scandalism. And the anti-Clinton forces have cheerfully used that preference for the sordid and the shocking over actual facts for the last 35 years. There are conspiracy theories about the Clintons murdering hundreds of people, or that no woman is safe near Bill Clinton.

(Quick side note: Bill Clinton did, in fact, have sex with Monica Lewinsky. A consensual affair with an adult woman. He also faced impeachment over that affair, which was pressed by several Congressmen who were worse sexual predators than Bill Clinton ever was. And, although the Right hates to admit it, Bill Clinton was also acquitted, but only after months of intense scrutiny, and press coverage that focused on Bill Clinton's penis. Or as it came to be called, the Clenis.)

Oddly, despite years of allegations of rape, murder and thievery, not a single one of these despicable acts has ever been been proven to have actually happened (which, of course, the right wing spins to mean that they're obviously all true).

So perhaps it's understandable that Hillary Clinton isn't a huge fan of the media.

But finally, there's a third aspect to Hillary Clinton's actions that really need to be considered: the best advocate for a Clinton presidency these days is Donald Trump himself. His rolling dumpster-fire of a campaign is proving that the only possible worse choice for president than Donald Trump would be Charles Manson on crack, or possibly a rabid badger with a flamethrower.

Her résumé and accomplishments are already a matter of public record. In the bigger picture, why should she do anything but stand back and let us all watch him implode?

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