Monday, September 5, 2016

Beltway Media Gives Hillary the Al Gore Treatment

File this under the 'Great minds think alike' section. I see Paul Krugman is writing about Hillary getting Al Gored this morning.

I wrote about this yesterday myself.

 No, as much as I'd like to think that, Krugman certainly didn't get the idea from reading me. LOL. We, of course, both came to the idea independently.

My piece yesterday was focused particularly on the asinine questions the media used to ask Al Gore.

"no controlling legal authority," inventing the internet, earth tones, Naomi Wolf, three-button suits. Led to W."

Yep and why'd he campaign at a Buddhist temple? W went to fundraisers as well, but that Gore allegedly went to a Buddhist temple seemed very worrisome to the media.

This puts to lie the idea that the media wants a Hillary presser so desperately so they can ask her about her Syria policy.

In any case, Krugman expands on this basic point. They are giving Hillary the Al Gore treatment. He too was accused of being 'unlikable.'

"Americans of a certain age who follow politics and policy closely still have vivid memories of the 2000 election — bad memories, and not just because the man who lost the popular vote somehow ended up in office. For the campaign leading up to that end game was nightmarish too."

"You see, one candidate, George W. Bush, was dishonest in a way that was unprecedented in U.S. politics. Most notably, he proposed big tax cuts for the rich while insisting, in raw denial of arithmetic, that they were targeted for the middle class. These campaign lies presaged what would happen during his administration — an administration that, let us not forget, took America to war on false pretenses."

Yes. The media chose not to vet W at all. After all, why was Al Gore wearing earth tones? That's much more substantive than W's phony budget math.

W was dishonest in an unprecedented way in 2000. Of course, now we have Donald Trump.

"Yet throughout the campaign most media coverage gave the impression that Mr. Bush was a bluff, straightforward guy, while portraying Al Gore — whose policy proposals added up, and whose critiques of the Bush plan were completely accurate — as slippery and dishonest. Mr. Gore’s mendacity was supposedly demonstrated by trivial anecdotes, none significant, some of them simply false. No, he never claimed to have invented the internet. But the image stuck."

"And right now I and many others have the sick, sinking feeling that it’s happening again."

"True, there aren’t many efforts to pretend that Donald Trump is a paragon of honesty. But it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve. If he manages to read from a TelePrompter without going off script, he’s being presidential. If he seems to suggest that he wouldn’t round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants right away, he’s moving into the mainstream. And many of his multiple scandals, like what appear to be clear payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University, get remarkably little attention."

"Meanwhile, we have the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation."

"Step back for a moment, and think about what that foundation is about. When Bill Clinton left office, he was a popular, globally respected figure. What should he have done with that reputation? Raising large sums for a charity that saves the lives of poor children sounds like a pretty reasonable, virtuous course of action. And the Clinton Foundation is, by all accounts, a big force for good in the world. For example, Charity Watch, an independent watchdog, gives it an “A” rating — better than the American Red Cross."

"Now, any operation that raises and spends billions of dollars creates the potential for conflicts of interest. You could imagine the Clintons using the foundation as a slush fund to reward their friends, or, alternatively, Mrs. Clinton using her positions in public office to reward donors. So it was right and appropriate to investigate the foundation’s operations to see if there were any improper quid pro quos. As reporters like to say, the sheer size of the foundation “raises questions.”

"But nobody seems willing to accept the answers to those questions, which are, very clearly, “no.”

As Krugman goes on to say: to say something 'raises questions' is weasel words:

"So I would urge journalists to ask whether they are reporting facts or simply engaging in innuendo, and urge the public to read with a critical eye. If reports about a candidate talk about how something “raises questions,” creates “shadows,” or anything similar, be aware that these are all too often weasel words used to create the impression of wrongdoing out of thin air."

But this is how Clinton scandals always go. There is never any actual proof, and certainly no lawbreaking. But there is lots of innuendo and the pundits follow that. With that NY Times piece on Friday about the request for a special passport-where Bill Clinton was able to free three prisoners in North Korea-reached truly parodic proportions.

Media's new fallback argument FOR why CF is a scandal: donors felt entitled to access even if they didn't get it."

The new special favors are not getting special favors. Which is just as suspicious as if there were special favors. This is Beltway logic regarding the Clintons.

"And here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing. Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today."

"In other words, focus on the facts. America and the world can’t afford another election tipped by innuendo."

Thank you. 

There has been an absurd meme lately that liberals are responsible for the rise of Trump. You see we were too critical of Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush, thereby giving Republicans no choice but to nominate Donald Trump. 

In truth the blame for Trump resides in two places:

1. First of all, and primarily with the Republican party. They're conduct with the President for 7 and a half years, they're relentless delegitimization of him created the space for Donald Trump. Even now it's arguable had Boehner not shelved the Gang of Eight in 2014, Donald Trump wouldn't have happened. 

2. But secondarily, the MSM has a big part to play. One way they've been complicit is what Krugman identifies: the best way to judge a candidate's character is what they've actually done and their policy proposals. 

The media started to get away from this with Bush-Gore. The way they gave W a pass was the antecedent to the rise of Trump. 

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