Friday :: May 2, 2008

It's No Mystery


by eriposte

Fernando Suarez of CBS' From The Road blog writes (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

In the long sprint to the finish, Hillary Clinton is not leaving anything to chance, maintaining an exhausting schedule and promising to keep it up until the May 6th primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.

[...]

Yesterday alone, Clinton did a retail stop at a gas station, a tour of a sheet metal factory, followed by brief remarks and a press conference. Later that day, she held a town hall event with union leaders, a rally in downtown Lafayette in the heart of Purdue University, followed by an hour and a half drive north to Kokomo for a final rally. Today, she will hold 3 rallies and one local stop before taking a late night flight to Greenville, North Carolina.

When asked why Clinton was maintaining such a full schedule and such long days, Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee joked, “to punish you.” He then added, “It’s crunch time. She's trying to reach as many voters as possible.”

I want to say a couple of things about this. First, I don't think I know anyone who maintains the kind of extraordinarily grueling schedule that Sen. Clinton does - and keeps going like an Energizer bunny despite that. People much younger than her would probably collapse if they tried to do what she has been doing in this campaign. Let me admit, I doubt that I would have been able to keep up with her either. She just works extremely hard day in and day out. Second, I also believe she is often forced to do this. Not necessarily because of this particular campaign but because when you are a public figure that an important chunk of the traditional media and "progressive" blogosphere hates irrationally and lies pathologically about, often the only way to bypass the filter - the distortions, the lies and the lying liars that tell them - is to go meet voters where they live and give them a chance to see/hear you directly and make up their mind independently. When average people, fed on the Limbaugh or Olbermann or Americablog or [...] diet, see the real Hillary Clinton it is often so diametrically opposite to the hateful, fraudulent or frivolous caricature of her that they have been exposed to, that it can and does surprise many people - and usually in a positive way. (I wrote about this dynamic a while back.) 

Yesterday, I mentioned a post by Melissa at Shakesville, who wrote about a Clinton event in IN. She has since posted an update discussing the very media filter that I am talking about:

So, yesterday, I wrote a post about attending a Hillary Clinton event, in which I passingly mentioned that the guy who introduced her referred to her testicular fortitude.

This morning, Shaker Reb emailed me a link to MSNBC's coverage, in which that's the lead. In fact, you have to read seven paragraphs before you get to anything of substance at all about the event, which gets two paragraphs, before three more about her "referring in passing" to her interview with Bill O'Reilly.

Now, Clinton spent over an hour talking about and answering questions about policy in amazing detail—and, throughout, she spoke the language of the labor movement specifically and progressives generally; there was no rightwing framing, no triangulation. She was impressively blunt about the Republicans playing class warfare and about her determination to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, and she was much more explicitly anti-corporate in some of her statements than I expected. At one point, I leaned over to KenBlogz to whisper, "This woman is a communist!" All of which is arguably actual news, given her reputation. (Although I suppose it isn't news to the media which has been dutifully not reporting it.)

Yet MSNBC reports on "testicular fortitude" (sorry—
who's playing the gender card?!) and her interview with Bill O'Reilly (you don't think that has anything to do with ginning up some of that outrage on display when she met with Scaife, do you?).

Ridiculous.

Continued below...

Is anyone surprised to hear I'm 99% certain the dude who filed this report was the one I mentioned reading The Drudge Report during her speech?

I'll tell you what—I was pretty goddamned jaded about the media before this election, but, between having been covered myself as part of the election early on, and attending campaign events and seeing how they're covered, I've uncovered a whole new layer of cynicism.

Unlike Melissa, I have actually not been surprised one bit about the media's coverage of Sen. Clinton. It has been generally along the lines of what I expected, although I should say Fox News has probably been slightly better than I expected. I also expected some of the ugly and depraved coverage she has gotten on some of the "progressive" blogs - but some of that coverage and mob-like behavior has in fact been much worse than I expected.

P.S. And Matt, I say this with due respect - when you rightly decry the tactics of the mobs you should take a moment to reflect on how you are feeding them by doing what you accuse the mobs of doing. Anyone who has really listened to Sen. Clinton on the stump (or even on Fox News) during this campaign, and looked at her voting record and her policy positions and the tactics of her opponent would have to be either extraordinarily cynical or extraordinarily dishonest to say what you did. Only you know which of these is true.

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