A Personal Perspective on the 2016 Presidential Election a series of unfortunate events Part 2: Hillary Clinton vs the World.
This part 2 of my four part series about the Presidential election and the factors that may have contributed to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s loss as well as her life and career. Part 1 can be read here.
One day I was on a phone talking to a friend of mine, I could hear CNN playing in the background, the primaries were heading to Maryland where I was stationed at the time, I revealed that I thought about going to see Bernie Sanders speak at the Royal Farms Arena (I never did make it) she revealed to me that she was also voting for Bernie and really hated Clinton. When I asked her why that was her simple answer was “There’s something about her I never liked.” I tried to press further “I just don’t trust her, honestly I’m not sure why, I just don’t.” Clinton would go on to win Maryland relatively easily by a 2:1 margin.
If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle: Hillary Clinton.
Looking at the history between Clinton and the media, I initially tried to find that one example, that one moment of when it all went sour for the Clinton’s and the media coverage of them. Yet there doesn’t seem to be one moment in time, just a series of events that led to Secretary Clinton disliking and not trusting the media and the mainstream media not liking and trusting her, a good old fashioned chicken or the egg scenario. All I know is that the media has never truly covered Hillary Clinton fairly, there is a bit of a sexist tone in how she’s covered and a media obsessed with scandals.
The only thing I can say for certainty is that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, that’s what we’ve been told constantly throughout our lives over the last 25 years, investigations, allegations, scandals, more investigations, more allegations, more books, more scandals, Whitewater, Benghazi, Emails, Clinton Foundation we can’t explain 99% of them but they’re reported on constantly so something has to be there and if there’s nothing there, we’ll just be constantly be reminded about it anyway about how there’s nothing there but maybe something will be there in due time if they just keep looking over and over again. You know the saying “Leave no stone unturned” even if they literally turned the same stone over 100 times, they’ll eventually find something.
Back when I was still working in purgatory I had a habit, at 10:00 AM every day I would pull out my cell phone, open my SiriusXM app and listen to the Dan LeBatard Show on ESPN radio. LeBatard makes a habit to poke fun at Sports talk radio making fun of sports cliches and tropes and offering a different perspective than the usual media pundits and spots hot takes. During Cam Newton’s MVP run last season, there was a lot of irrational hate aimed towards him from some fans while other personalities would wonder why or dance around the issues, LeBatard flat out just said the obvious, Newton was unapologetically black, culturally he was in our faces about it and that made some white fans uncomfortable and the fact that he’s a QB and not a skilled position like wideout makes them really uncomfortable. Cam Newton said the same thing at a Super Bowl presser. So of course those fans are yelling “No we’re not racist! AAAAH” but that’s another topic for another time. Cam Newton wasn’t the only black entertainer who caused uproar being “Unapogetically black” and because of that magically created a great racial divide that’s already been in place for hundreds of years but if they’re unapologetically black then Secretary Clinton is definitely unapologetically a woman. While some people will scream “We’re not sexist! AAAAH” let’s not get it twisted some people are. Male politicians aren’t criticized for not smiling 24/7, we don’t give a shit about their hairstyles, we don’t criticize them for being too ambitious, for being too confident or forceful. Every mistake they’ve made isn’t magnified 100 times over. There aren’t slogans like “Trump that Bitch” or “Hillary sucks but not like Monica” which are somehow acceptable in the year 2016 .
In 1979, a 39 year old Hillary Rodham had an interview about being the First Lady to the newly elected governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton. The interviewer is astonished that the wife of a governor. Isn’t all interested in state dinners and teas and garden parties, the kinds of things we tend to associate with governor’s wives. He then critiques her for keeping the name Rodham instead of taking on the last name of Clinton and how that may rub some of the Arkansas voters the wrong way and brings up the idea that those are watching would say that if she wasn’t a practicing attorney she would be able to stay and spend time with her husband. What’s never mentioned is how she graduated ahead of Bill Clinton at Yale College, she was making more money than he was at the time and had her own responsibilities. In the interview Hillary Rodham finally responds with this.
One cannot live one’s life based on what somebody else’s image of you might be. I suppose that there have been many wives of politicians who may have had serious problems personally, because they were worried about the image that they had and as to whether or not that would hurt their husband. All one can do is live the life that God gave you, and just do the best you can. If somebody likes you or doesn’t like you, that’s in many ways something that you have no control over
In 1992 the Republicans called her feminazi for not being a stayed at home Mom and painted a picture of career business woman trying to break up the traditional conservative family because how dare a woman be ambitious and have ideas? She wasn’t Barbara Bush a traditional 60 year old woman who stayed at home and raised her children. No Clinton had aspirations and that was a problem. Meanwhile the media wanted her to fit the traditional FLOTUS role while Clinton wanted to push for Health Care reform and wanted to show that she was more than another home maker who only cared about interior decorating. In defense of her legal career, Clinton once said. I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” Like clock work there was outrage from conservatives and stay-at-home Mom’s who felt Clinton was insulting them. Never mind how the idea that a working woman can’t truly love her child because she’s not at home 24/7 is an insult in and of itself. But in reality that wasn’t the entire quote.
The work that I have done as a professional, a public advocate, has been aimed … to assure that women can make the choices, whether it’s full-time career, full-time motherhood or some combination. We’ve often heard about the first half of that quote no doubt it’s on a meme somewhere but we never hear about the second half. 25 years later and Clinton quotes are still taken out of context. It’s not just overt sexism, it’s often been subtle, the trivializing of her accomplishments, the double standard, holding her to an entirely higher standard to her male peers, the outright lies about her political stances, finding her threatening because of her ambition.
As a child she was held to an impossible high standard by her father, at age 13 year she was told by NASA that she couldn’t be an Astronaut because she was a girl, in high school she was called dumb for being a girl who wanted to be class President, as a 21 year old she was elected Student President by her peers and publicly challenged a Senator for his comments in a commencement speech, as a young woman she disagreed with the legendary Saul Alinsky to his face and turned down his job offer and decided to go on her path to become a law student, at age 39 she became the first woman to make partner with the Rose Law Firm, she helped create a State Children’s Health Insurance Program and gave an influential speech women’s rights are human rights. In Beijing, China in front of 140 countries while refusing to soften her tone. As a NY Senator she received high approval ratings climbing to 74% within NY and steadying at 64%, as Secretary of State she received bipartisan praise for her work ethic, her professionalism and the way she ran the State Department and this was after Benghazi, her last two years as Secretary of State she had a 66% approval rating. None of that matters though because her hair is slightly unkempt, her laugh is really loud, she’s wearing a green pantsuit instead of a blue one, sothere must be something there. No wonder she has no time for the media.
Just recently Clinton made her first appearance since conceding the election giving a speech about the Children’s Defense Fund but who cares about the speech let’s talk about her not wearing make-up and while some applauded the former Secretary of State for not giving a shit enough to wear make up anymore because she simply doesn’t have to others weren’t so kind.
The need to catch the Clinton’s with a scandal seems to have started with the Nixon and administration and Watergate. Watergate was an amazing piece of investigative journalism that exposed corruption at the highest level but the scandal started the natural distrust of our government, the partisanship between between the major parties and journalists around the country trying to do their best Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward impersonations without the actual fact checking and actual journalism that’s involved in pursuing such an endeavor. The Clinton’s are easy targets because they’re the closest thing we’ve had to the Kennedy’s, Conservatives hate them because they’ve been seen as bullet proof while someone out there wants to be the one to finally break open the wall of corruption.
On Slate.com there’s an interesting piece written by Michelle Goldberg titled Hillary Haters in it she mentions how the media initially portrayed Clinton in 1993 as morally superior, overly ambitious, a meddler, someone who’s too idealistic. A stark contrast to why people hate her now as being immoral, a criminal, even orchestrating murders behind the scenes.
A quick google search has the far right claiming that the media has been overly kind to her, stories about hacked emails from Wikileaks showing the Clinton campaign having “secret” support from the media. Trump claiming countless times how the liberal media is against him. But let’s weed through the bullshit together shall we..
There was a Harvard study that focused on the press coverage of the election but instead of focusing on the Cable news networks that were hungry for ratings it focused on the major print and broadcast outlets. CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The study can be read here.
The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers — a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone — he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls. The Democratic race in 2015 received less than half the coverage of the Republican race. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was largely ignored in the early months but, as it began to get coverage, it was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Sanders’ coverage in 2015 was the most favorable of any of the top candidates, Republican or Democratic. For her part, Hillary Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate. In 11 of the 12 months, her “bad news” outpaced her “good news,” usually by a wide margin, contributing to the increase in her unfavorable poll ratings in 2015.”
To sum that all up, there wasn’t a media bias for Clinton in fact it was the exact opposite, Trump turned the election into a TV show and the media did their part to cover it as such. Every candidate had a role assigned to them and those roles were going to follow them whether they wanted it to or not. Bernie became the underdog, the equivalent of the underdog fighter who performs better than anyone else had thought he would and loses a decision, everyone screams that he got cheated even if statistically he didn’t out perform the champ in significant strikes, punches landed or if he even got knocked down multiple times.
The American People are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails: Bernie Sanders at the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate.
While the American people (or at least Democrats) may have been tired of the emails, the GOP and the media itself wasn’t tired of talking about it. Now let’s be clear the media doesn’t give a shit about journalistic integrity, while we can make the claim that Fox News is a conservative outlet (which it is) and that MSNBC leans left, what they really care about are clicks, subscriptions, ratings and ad revenue. So talking about Trump=ratings, discussing Hillary “controversies” = ratings. Throughout the primaries the media gave Trump an outlet to spread his hate-filled rhetoric, never really held him to a standard of someone who’s running for President and any criticism over his rhetoric would be met by brief outrage before tying him back to Hillary’s unfavorable numbers. It became a story of “Wow both candidates are terrible” when in reality only one really sucked. Trump can yell about the system and the liberal led media out to get him or the conservative establishment using Fox News to screw him over but really he was playing them like a fiddle and they were happy to make music to his fucking ears. While his surrogate were his inept back up band.
Secretary Clinton on the other hand was running against the wind the entire time and in all honesty there was nothing she could do to break the mold, a case of damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. Any chance to make herself appear likable would be met with skepticism, any progressive policies she had (and she had plenty) would be met with scorn from Bernie supporters who never trusted her. If she was found innocent it’s no doubt because she did something wrong, or that person is on her payroll or her camp threatened their lives, if she wins it’s because she cheated obviously. Now if this was relegated to just the Breitbarts of the world that would be one thing but the mainstream media gave credence to it and liberals who normally wouldn’t listen to right wing conspiracy led garbage decided to buy into it. Meanwhile most liberals and conservatives can’t accurately explain what Benghazi is or it’s significance.
When I asked if people can actually explain what happened in Benghazi or with the deleted email, I get the equivalent of a student who didn’t do the required reading and now has to stand up in class and explain what happened in the chapters.
“So Benghazi? You see Benghazi is this place in the middle east and Clinton when she was Secretary of State led to an attack on an embassy that led to the deaths of a couple of people, yea Benghazi and she tried to cover it up by deleting some emails on her private server which is illegal and can lead to criminal charges….yea so those emails are bad and she lost like 30,000 of those emails and there was a hearing about those emails and Benghazi because she may have killed people and it’s her fault….I think…..she’s evil OK that’s all I know”
Over the last week and a half the Clinton camp and some Democrats have partially placed blame on the media and FBI director James Comey for her election loss and while those in the media have scoffed at the idea but maybe there’s some validity to that. Comey’s letter to congress led to a self-fulling prophecy of the media questioning how much the media was going to cover this and how this was going to affect her campaign before reporting on it non-stop 24/7 while screaming at itself for covering it. Of course, nothing was there but no one seemed to wait long enough to get the details to even find that out.
Is Hillary Clinton perfect? No. She can be unnecessarily private, she can be overly cautious, her distrust of the media and being properly paranoid about the GOP led to her using a private server for her emails as Secretary of State. She and other Democrats did allow the GOP to create a narrative about her which put her on defense a lot, instead of getting out in front of it. Not all of her policies are sound (but more progressive than progressives want to give her credit for) but that doesn’t mean she’s actually evil.
What’s weird is that the people who have met her and have worked with her talk about how much nicer she seems to be in person, her sense of humor, the mischievous streak that she has, her strong religious faith. Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s biggest mistake was that she wasn’t genre savvy to know that she was in a reality TV show instead of a Presidential election. Or maybe her biggest was that she wasn’t born with a penis then maybe she could have been judged based on her own merits.