Monday, September 12, 2016

Transparency is not the Cause of the Clinton Rules

Earlier I talked about the great illusion of Beltway journalists. That while sometimes the Clinton coverage is unfair, they bring it on themselves.

She brings it on herself by not being transparent enough.

Somehow there's no real crime or even big scandal with the Clintons but there is a lack of transparency which feeds it. Basically We;re unfair to the Clintons but they make us be unfair.

The Beltway's most overpaid hack, Chris Cillizza this morning:

"The Clintons' past history with transparency (not good) when coupled with their response to this incident (also, not good) plays into one of the ongoing narratives of this presidential race: You simply cannot trust Hillary Clinton to tell you the whole truth."

That world 'whole' is doing a hell of a lot of work. He can't say she doesn't tell the truth but wants to leave that impression so he inserts the weasel word, whole.

What is the whole truth? That's open to debate and conjecture. According to fact checkers like Glenn Kessler and Politifacts Hillary Clinton is on the higher range in terms of honesty for politicians. We know where Trump is: he's the most dishonest candidate in history.

Back to Cillizza:

"There is a line that runs through all of Clinton's issues — her private email server, the Clinton Foundation and now her health — in this race. And it is an obsession with secrecy driven by a paranoia of the media."

Gee, I wonder why that could be.

"Think of how differently the email controversy might have turned out if, in that first news conference addressing the existence of a private email server last spring, Clinton would have simply said, "I'm sorry," and told reporters everything she knew about the setup. It's nearly certain that we wouldn't still be talking about it 18 months later."

"Certain? This is of course impossible to prove or disprove, but color me skeptical. Remember in 1994, those that urged the Clintons to set up a Special Prosecutor. Transparency would be the best policy. Imagine how much worse it would have gone had they not appointed Ken Starr. No way would they have been talking about impeachment 5 years later. "

Oh wait.

"But Taneshi Coates has a great new post about the latest furor over 'Basket of deplorables.'

He says something here that totally debunks the usual Beltway defense: Ok, we do get carried away,

"I do not believe that journalists are so powerful as to disabuse this group of their beliefs. But there is something to be said for not contributing to an opportunistic ignorance. For much of this campaign journalists have attacked Hillary Clinton for being evasive and avoiding hard questioning from their ranks. And then the second Clinton is forthright and says something revealing, she is attacked—not for the substance of what she’s said—but simply for having said it. This hypocrisy carries a chilling implicit message: Lie to me. Lie to the country. Lie to everyone. This weekend was not just another misanalysis, it was a shocking betrayal of the journalistic mission which should urge the revelation of truth as opposed to the propagation of hot takes, Washington jargon, and politics-speak."

It is a great point. She's always criticized for being 'cautious', of being guarded, of not being transparent.

So last week she had a number of pressers, and even had an open fundraiser. At the fundraiser, immediately she's castigated for being open. Meanwhile. the media continues to talk as if she wasn't a lot more open last week.

"They have been pressuring her all along to do more pressers, interviews, etc. and have hit a brick wall over&over."

She has done plenty of interviews. Last week she did pressers. But the Beltway can't even acknowledge it.

The whole Taneshi Coates piece is worth reading. Here's a little more:

"The safe space for the act of being white endures today. This weekend, the media, an ostensibly great American institution, saw it challenged and—not for the first time—organized to preserve it. For speaking a truth, backed up by data, Clinton was accused of promoting bigotry. No. The true crime was endangering white consciousness. So it was when the president asserted that it was stupid to arrest a man for breaking into his own home. So it was when the president said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. And so it is when reformers suggest police not stop citizens on so flimsy a pretext as furtive movements. The need to be white is a sensitive matter—one which our institutions are inexorably and mindlessly bound to protect."

As he points out the media focused purely on the theatrical content of what she said: is it smart politics?

1. So they ignored whether she was right or not: she wasn't.

2. The other assumption was that it was bad politics on her part. But this is not clear as most Americans including most college educated whites believe Trump is a racist, sexist, bigot.

P.S. It's also a suitably modest goal but one the media should take to heart: not to further opportunistic ignorance as they so often have done in the past.

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