Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

posted at 12:31 pm on March 8, 2015 by Noah Rothman

Over the weekend, former President Bill Clinton confessed that his organization, The Clinton Foundation, had taken money from unsavory foreign governments in the Middle East. He added, however, that this practice was not only a matter of limited concern for the public, but it could also have positive effects. And not just for the foundation’s bottom line.

“Do we agree with everything they do?” No,” Clinton said of the United Arab Emirates at an event in Miami on Saturday. “Do I agree with all the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia? No.” He failed to make any mention of Algeria, a nation whose conspicuous donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state was alleged by The New York Times to have directly violated an ethics agreement with the Obama administration.

“I believe we have done a lot more good than Harm,” the 42nd President averred. That’s nice. We may never know for sure.

When it was revealed that the Clintons had quite possibly sold the American government’s influence for hard cash, it was disturbing. When it was discovered that Hillary Clinton’s evasive emailing practices, which violated both law and administration guidelines, prevented those tasked with oversight from ever definitively knowing whether American diplomatic security had been willfully compromised, it became a scandal of the first order.

Clinton’s defenders contend that the former secretary has been as transparent as she is going to be, as though that is a sufficient defense. She released some 55,000 pages of documents to Foggy Bottom for review, keeping only the choicest samples set aside for reasons known only to her. But how can anyone fully and independently verify that Clinton has been fully transparent? “We’re going to have verification by her being believed that she’s going to turn over everything,” Clinton ally Lanny Davis told MSNBC’s Tamron Hall in a contentious segment focused on the email controversy on Friday.

Clap your hands, children, or Tink dies.

So what did Bill Clinton have to say about this week’s revelations regarding his wife’s emails and how they relate to the simultaneously unfolding Clinton Foundation donations scandal? Sadly, that pressing matter went unaddressed. But how could a journalist of any merit have failed to press the former president on this issue when it has become the singular focus of the Beltway press corps and has the capacity to scuttle the former secretary of state’s ambitions? Because Bill Clinton wasn’t talking to a journalist.

“Mr. Clinton’s remarks came at an event at the University of Miami, sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative University, in which he was interviewed onstage by comedian Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Nightly show,’” New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman reported.

Perhaps as a result of President Barack Obama’s insulting but nevertheless successful “new media strategy,” the Clintons appear inclined to address their critics by subjecting themselves to inquisition only from friendly interlocutors and those who are not and never claimed to be reporters.

This strategy is already generating eye-rolling from seasoned political reporters. “The first (real) interview Hillary conducts as a candidate is going to be one for the ages,” Politico reporter Glenn Thrush observed. “Steve Kroft (again)?”

Why not? This veteran CBS News reporter, who so deftly stage managed a joint interview with both Clinton and Obama so that both appeared warm and gracious toward one another, might be best equipped to defuse this scandal. Once Clinton has outlasted those few in the political media who are not blessed with saintly patience and the nation has moved on to new and more pressing subject matter, only then will the Democratic Party’s presumed 2016 standard-bearer consent to a grilling. Kroft, or whomever Whitehaven taps for this honor, will do what is expected of them; pressing just hard enough on the wound to make the subject issue a theatrical wince, but not so hard as to leave the injury – cauterized by time – bleeding afresh.

At no point, it seems, will the hungry and eager reporters in America’s political press corps grow so irritated by being sidelined by the Democratic Party’s leading politicians that they ever refuse to accept it. The journalistic class, or even a rogue reporter or two, could come out and explicitly accuse Democrats of an unacceptable effort to avoid looking the American public in the eye and explaining themselves. The opposite is more often true. Many cheer Democrats’ “new media” obfuscation as smart politics.

When the 44th President of the United States debased the office he occupies by doing his best insurance salesman impression during a sit-down interview with a woman who bathes in cereal milk and inserts prophylactics in her nostrils, the reviewers glowed.

“Perhaps it’s because the media helped set the bar ridiculously low for this afternoon’s interviews, but in the end, they actually came off as far more substantive than anyone could have predicted,” Mediaite’s Matt Wilstein agreed.

“President Barack Obama has never been shy in expressing his distaste for some of traditional media’s bad habits,” CNN’s Brian Stelter observed. He went on to make the case for why the torch of political journalism will inevitably pass from Gwen Ifill to GloZell.

Along with the stars of YouTube, Obama also spoke to institutions like Vox.com and BuzzFeed – the Steve Krofts of the internet, if you will — in the effort to pitch the Affordable Care Act to young people who will subsidize the care provided to the sick and the elderly. Perhaps Clinton could follow in the president’s footsteps and explain her behavior in listicles or request that her allies craft an explanatory post in which we learn why the Federal Records Act is outmoded and should have been scrapped long ago.

If the press were truly perturbed by the Clinton/Obama “new media strategy,” figures like Lanny Davis and David Brock wouldn’t be able to find a camera. The unconvincing exculpations offered by these and other Clinton surrogates would be deemed insufficient. Journalists would demand that the former secretary of state show herself and answer to the American people for her dangerously careless and possibly malicious actions. Reporters would invite the threats from Philippe Reines and the overwrought insinuations that they and their outlets would be frozen out of a Clinton administration. Her continued silence, it would be implied, is an admission of guilt.

But that kind of behavior from the press is more often than not reserved for Republicans.

Politico Magazine’s Jack Schafer recently elaborated on the Clintons’ media strategy and boldly asserted that Republicans can be expected to “overplay their hands” and become the central focus of the reporting on Hillary’s untoward behavior. But this is a self-fulfilling promise, and it is reflective of a self-marginalizing instinct among the press that has grown more concerned with protecting the powerful than they are with afflicting them. The impulse to deflect attention away from the scandalous and onto those who dare make note of the scandal is a cancer on the institution of political reporting.

Some on the right believe that the Obama/Clinton strategy of elevating vaguely political comedians and YouTube celebrities to the status they presently enjoy is a brilliant one, and Republicans would do well to emulate it. Even if they could get away with that, which they cannot, Republican officeholders would be doing the public a disservice if they tried. A Republican president would be correctly accused by the press of skirting the issues and keeping unserious company, perhaps because his or her career would be undone by giving more time to a serious journalist with a solemn objective.

Hillary Clinton continues to ride out this storm in her bunker, but her husband’s emergence foreshadows yet another Comedy Central presidency. The press watches their traditional roles being coopted and shrugs, but the public should not. Who knows if the country can survive another eight years in which the Fourth Estate devotes all its powers of oversight to keeping the opposition party in check?

An earlier version of this post indicated that Clinton had released 55,000 emails to the State Department for review.


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Comments

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

Yes..

Next…

Electrongod on March 8, 2015 at 12:36 PM

We are not that easily fooled.

Walter L. Newton on March 8, 2015 at 12:36 PM

Now we’re just haggling over the price.

rogerb on March 8, 2015 at 12:37 PM

“Hungry and eager reporters’…….surely you jest !

bls46 on March 8, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Maybe if she wore blackface.

ConstantineXI on March 8, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Has anyone yet compared Hillary’s e-mail release with Palin’s?

PersonFromPorlock on March 8, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Steve Kroft might be too busy in divorce court…

Wethal on March 8, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Bil would be happy to give an interview to a woman in a bathtub, but he’d probably insist she be a hot chick, not the freak who interviewed Obama.

Wethal on March 8, 2015 at 12:51 PM

Once a fool, easy to be known as a fool.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2015 at 12:53 PM

It’s all right, presstitutes. She’ll only hit you because she loves you.

Laura Castellano on March 8, 2015 at 12:57 PM

They will engage with a real journalist – what about that George Stephanopolous fellow?

motionview on March 8, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Barack Obama got a pass. He’s “The First African-American President” and no one has had the ethics, principles, or courage to treat him like any other president.

Not the press, and certainly not congress.

This is unfortunate, not simply because Obama has abused the office and power of the president in exploiting the pass he’s been given due to his uniqueness, but even more unfortunate in that this will give the nation pause when considering electing another person who is “The First ______________ President” because of that same abuse of authority and exploitation of opportunity.

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 12:58 PM

Has anyone yet compared Hillary’s e-mail release with Palin’s?

PersonFromPorlock on March 8, 2015 at 12:48 PM

I don’t understand….
Palin isn’t a public servant….

Hillary is..and has been….

Electrongod on March 8, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Breaking: Biden has agreed to release both of his emails while he was VP……heh

d1carter on March 8, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Breaking: Biden has agreed to release both of his emails while he was VP……heh

d1carter on March 8, 2015 at 1:05 PM

.
And both of them read: “2 million dollars in a Nigerian Bank all for me!!??
I’m in. Here’s my bank account numbers,credit card numbers and $100 fee.”

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM

Yes. Nobody ever said you had to be smart to be a reporter.

warmairfan on March 8, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Breaking: Biden has agreed to release both of his emails while he was VP……heh

d1carter on March 8, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Reportedly he is going to “shotgun” out the press release.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 8, 2015 at 1:17 PM

Breaking: Biden has agreed to release both of his emails while he was VP……heh

d1carter on March 8, 2015 at 1:05 PM

10 terabytes later…

Electrongod on March 8, 2015 at 1:19 PM

All of Biden’s e-mails where returned “no such address”.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2015 at 1:21 PM

I forget…does the anti-christ have to be male? Could be a she maybe….

RBMN on March 8, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

Fools? I thought Comrade O was treating them like the useful idiots they are.

farsighted on March 8, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Soooo…….we can be sold out by the Republicans and be told about it, or we can be sold out by the Democrats and not be told.

To quote a famous (infamous?) top presidential fund raiser “What difference, at this point, does it make?”.

GHU!

cottontail on March 8, 2015 at 1:33 PM

It’s worked for 23 years. Did someone think it would quite working on some random Tuesday for no particular reason?

deepdiver on March 8, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Increasingly, I’m not sure H.R. Clinton means to run for the presidency, or that she ever actually intended to run this cycle.

Its entirely possible that H.R.Clinton may be laying down markers, trying to keep her family relevant in the progressive inner circle and thus maintain influence, and networking to keep the speaking engagements and future book deals lucrative.

Simply running for president can be quite lucrative, particularly if the individual running is experience in manipulating the system and the circles relevant to that process.

Clinton’s health is a major issue. She’s not simply in poor health, she’s suffered brain related injuries.

Clinton’s lumbered with baggage from her days as Secretary of State. Email scandal, Benghazi, the association with Anthony Weiner, both directly and through her aide and confidant, Huma Abedeen.

And the fact that there is almost no viable contention for the Democratic party nomination is puzzling. While the GOP has a number of individuals who have been preparing and putting themselves in the eye of the press and the nation, the Democrats have been incredibly reticent.

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM

O/T, kindof: Whatever happened to Vera Baker? The media deep-sixed that rumor or reports about Obama and Baker early in the 2008 campaign. If the press are being treated like fools, it’s because they want it that way.
.
Let the “h8rs” begin again with a Republican or conservative president.

ExpressoBold on March 8, 2015 at 1:46 PM

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

What’s the difference btw. obama sh*t and a beached decaying sperm whale as your medium?

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:47 PM

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Indeed

Chelsea Clinton: Hillary will make the ‘right decision’ about running for president

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:48 PM

The leftist media and all the trolls should be against royalty.

No Clintons
No Bushs
No Kennedys
No obamas

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:49 PM

ExpressoBold on March 8, 2015 at 1:46 PM

That was a squirrel, to cover up your first gay president.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:50 PM

The press willingly sacrificed all their credibility for Obama and the Democrats, for the past 6 years, so why should they change. They take polls, we find the opposite is true, they report stories, we find them full of lies and half-truths. I’m not sure how much lower they can go, but you just have to get the feeling they’re not done yet.

Until I see the national media treat Democrats like they do Republicans, I will never trust them again. They’ve taken the reasons for their 1st Amendment protections and completely discarded them so they can protect their political cronies. They really have a long way to go to earn back the trust of the public and I don’t even see them making the effort.

bflat879 on March 8, 2015 at 1:52 PM

Barack Obama got a pass. He’s “The First African-American President” and no one has had the ethics, principles, or courage to treat him like any other president.

With much respect, he’s the first half-black president. There are NO hyphenated Americans J.

Not the press, and certainly not congress.

This is unfortunate….

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 12:58 PM

This is the ultimate form of racism, to ask of him less than of all the others, before and after.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:48 PM

Good afternoon, Paladin.

The silence on the LEFT is a large part of what makes me speculate about whether she even means to run.

I keep recalling a recent article in which a Democrat said they wanted a “…fresh face like Barack Obama”.

It makes me wonder if the Democrats are sandbagging and mean to wait until just before the convention and present another relatively unknown, poorly qualified, candidate.

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Afternoon J.

Please also recall obama, his Highness “we need a new whiff”, in similar words.

This is an incontrovertible fact, the Clintons and the obamas absolutely hate each other, more than is possible.

Without his support she can’t win.

With his support she can’t either.

Plus, Bill Clinton will see to it that she doesn’t surpass his ‘glory’ in history.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:55 PM

The pro-democrat hack press? do they even care? they are so busy worshiping, covering, pretending real scandals don’t exist while creating scandals for the GOP out of whole cloth – I cannot imagine they care about the foolishness of it all. They are the democrat court jesters, in a way. Dance! Jump! good dog.

AprilApple on March 8, 2015 at 1:56 PM

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:53 PM

I used the title Obama and the Democrats prefer, my friend.

You’ll recall that when he ran for office he was going to be “The First Post-Racial President” and “The First Post-Partisan President” there weren’t going to be anymore “red states or blues states, only purple states”.

My personal favorite was when he declared that he was “The First Pacific-American President” because he’d once lived in Hawaii and Indonesia.

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 1:56 PM

Heh, and he called HI “Asian” too.

Here’s a good article, nailing both on being post-‘merican. Likely already read.

Is Jeb Bush a Republican Obama?
The GOP may have found its own candidate for the age of fluidity represented—and accelerated—by the presidency of Barack Obama.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM

He can call Hisself anything he wants.

He’s an eternal clinically malignantly ill narcissistic Punk.

The land can survive him but not the fools who brung/kept him.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 2:00 PM

The media own him and I hope they all die from what is not Beluga caviar, the fools.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 2:01 PM

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Thanks for the link, Paladin.

I wish you a wonderful afternoon, my friend.

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 2:02 PM

thatsafactjack on March 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Yes it’s all about maximum cash before she slithers back under the rock she came out from. I believe her health is not up to running for president.

wifarmboy on March 8, 2015 at 2:20 PM

You likewise, J. Ignore the stupid world and smile.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2015 at 2:25 PM

As children of the Cold War, we were told that the Soviet people were told only lies by their mockery of a press; Pravda was nothing but the voice of the Soviet masters.

We wondered how that must be, to have only lies and exaggerations fill your daily news papers- to never be sure of the truth.

Today, we wonder no longer. The conservative blogosphere is our Radio Free Europe and conservative talk radio is our Voice of America, in these sad days.

Dolce Far Niente on March 8, 2015 at 2:35 PM

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

Why not? They are.

GrumpyOldFart on March 8, 2015 at 2:53 PM

In Soviet times there was a saying among the common people that there was no truth in Pravda (Russian for truth) and no news in Izvestia (Russian for news). They were not fooled. Why are we?

Texas Eagle on March 8, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Hillary will do just fine with the press. A selfie in a bathtub full of milk and fruit loops will go over well with those who voted for obama – twice.

Ruckus_Tom on March 8, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Thanks to Monica, Hillary is actually a blow up doll.

vnvet on March 8, 2015 at 3:38 PM

Why not, they are!

Another Drew on March 8, 2015 at 3:44 PM

The real question is “When will the press have members who are not fools?

mad scientist on March 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM

When it was revealed that the Clintons had quite possibly sold the American government’s influence for hard cash, it was disturbing.

Really?

As if no one knew that you NEVER get in the way of the Clinton’s making a buck.

GarandFan on March 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM

“Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?”

Of course.

In baseball there is an old saying, “keep pitching it till they hit it.”

Why would Hillary not treat the press like fools? It’s worked before and it will work again.

Fred 2 on March 8, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Absolutely Hillary can get away with it. She already does as they lick her boots. The MSM are so well practised in licking Obama’s boots that they will need no practise at all. The Constitution will not protect the American people from a dictator, as we are now seeing. There are no checks and balances: its just words.

leader4hru on March 8, 2015 at 4:09 PM

the press doesn’t like Hillary, unlike Obama who they lust after

but they will hold their nose and kill all negative stories about her because the end justifies the means in liberal moral relativism

they are quickly getting a refresher why they hated the Clintons, but they just remind themselves of the alternative, having a scary Republican like Walker or Cruz in the WH, and they will quickly fall into line like the quislings they are

thurman on March 8, 2015 at 4:48 PM

Absolutely! They don’t need any motivation to coddle/protect dems, they do it naturally!

soapyjeans on March 8, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Yeah, ask that b*tch to quack.

Shaughnessy on March 8, 2015 at 5:44 PM

“I believe we have done a lot more good than Harm,” the 42nd President averred.

A lot of good, for whom? No doubt that Bill and Hillary profited greatly, anyone else?

RJL on March 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?

The press, almost without exception, are committed hard core lefties, Hillary couldn’t stop them if she wanted to and she’s delighted to revel in the press’ deep Democrat bias.

RJL on March 8, 2015 at 7:07 PM

Hillary will do just fine with the press. A selfie in a bathtub full of milk and fruit loops will go over well with those who voted for obama – twice.

Ruckus_Tom on March 8, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Are you trying to make every person who reads this throw up?

GrumpyOldFart on March 8, 2015 at 10:23 PM

Can Hillary get away with the Obama model of treating the press like fools?
POSTED AT 12:31 PM ON MARCH 8, 2015 BY NOAH ROTHMAN

Got any more rhetorical questions, Noah?

earlgrey on March 8, 2015 at 11:21 PM

I think Hillary is HOT!
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Call me Ishmael…

Tard on March 8, 2015 at 11:54 PM

Tard on March 8, 2015 at 11:54 PM

Ishmael Tard has found his Whale. Congratulations, and good luck.

Kenosha Kid on March 9, 2015 at 12:44 AM

As my friend Forrest used to say, “Stupid is as Stupid does” or something like that.

Herb on March 9, 2015 at 9:57 AM