The Real Clinton Rules

For a long time, the Clinton supporters have been whining about the so-called Clinton Rules. These unspoken rules of media coverage are supposedly unfair to the Clintons. I list them below. But you’ll recognize quickly that these “rules” apply to everyone in public life and especially Republicans.

1) Everything, no matter how ludicrous-sounding, is worthy of a full investigation by federal agencies, Congress, the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and mainstream media outlets.

2) Every allegation, no matter how ludicrous, is believable until it can be proven completely and utterly false. And even then, it keeps a life of its own in the conservative media world.

Nonsense. The Vince Foster and Boys on the Tracks conspiracy theories were mocked and derided. The Lewinsky investigation was frequently denounced as an investigation of a blowjob, rather than an investigation of obstruction of justice. The current e-mail scandal keeps getting dismissed, no matter how many classified documents turn up. Benghazi has become a buzzword for liberals to dismiss any criticism of Obama or Clinton.

And for Republicans? Every intimation of misdeeds by George W. Bush was in the headlines. We’ve been enduring news cycle after news cycle probing Ben Carson’s biography, poking Marco Rubio’s finances, questioning Ted Cruz’s citizenship and breaking down Carly Fiorina’s track record.

3) The media assumes that Clinton is acting in bad faith until there’s hard evidence otherwise.

The media should assume all politicians are acting in bad faith until proven otherwise. And when it’s Republicans, they do. Every time there’s a shooting, the media tells us that Republicans are willing to see children get slaughtered in exchange for NRA campaign contributions. Opposition to Obamacare was derided as being in the employ of insurance companies (who, uh, supported the bill). Any opposition to “jobs bills” or big spending bills is attributed to the Republicans only caring about rich people. Never for a second is it allowed that conservative might disagree on how effective liberal policies are. No, it’s always because they are uncaring jackals who only want special interest money.

4) Everything is newsworthy because the Clintons are the equivalent of America’s royal family

Well … they are to start their second dynasty. And they never really left public life. They and their daughter are showered with millions in media contracts, speaking fees and donations to their fund. How is that not royalty?

5) Everything she does is fake and calculated for maximum political benefit

Again, we should assume this of all politicians. In fact, we just had a media storm over Marco Rubio repeating talking points where it was stated that everything he says is fake and calculated.

And we should especially assume that the Clintons are fake, given their long history of frequently and flagrantly lying their asses off. One day it’s a bogus story of sniper fire on an airport; the next it’s bogus allegations the the White House Travel Office was embezzling money; the next, it’s every lie imaginable on the campaign trail. And, when Clinton was President, they were well known for sliming their opponents, whether it was implying Monica Lewinski was a deranged stalker or leaking information about Alma Powell’s struggles with depression.

But the investigation into Clinton’s e-mail server has turned up something interesting. In exchange for access to her speech, the Clinton people were telling journalists what to write.

A set of emails has exposed a sordid, transactional relationship between Hillary Clinton and the press.

The emails were obtained by Gawker as part of a large Freedom of Information Act request it made back in 2012. They show a 2009 exchange between Marc Ambinder, then-politics editor of The Atlantic, and Philippe Reines, a close assistant and adviser to Clinton during her days as Secretary of State.

Ambinder asked Reines for an advance copy of a speech Clinton was scheduled to give at the Council on Foreign Relations. Rather than simply say yes or no, Reines cut a deal with Ambinder, turning over the speech provided Ambinder agreed to three conditions:

1) You in your own voice describe [the speech] as “muscular”

2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from [Richard] Holbrooke to [George] Mitchell to [Dennis] Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something

3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!

Ambinder agrees in the exchange, and his subsequent article shows that he followed Reines’ demands to the letter. Clinton’s speech is dubbed “muscular” in the second sentence, and the suggestive arrangement of Holbrooke, Mitchell, and Ross is noted immediately afterward. Ambinder never reveals that he was fulfilling demands made by Reines. In essence, in return for a scoop, Ambinder allowed Clinton’s team to dictate part of his coverage.

I would bet very good money that is not the first nor the second nor the 500th time this has happened. Just last year, Vox ran an article complaining that the Clintons don’t “need” the press and it drives the press crazy. Of course, the press aren’t supposed to be political flacks for a powerful political dynasty; they’re supposed to be adversaries (reminder: Vox is the baby of Ezra Klein, who created the Journolist where some lefty media coordinated their propaganda coverage of Obama).

The idea that media are massively unfair to the Clinton is something believed mostly by the Clintons themselves and their sycophants. If the media really were out to get them, Clinton would be getting a grilling on her vote for the Iraq War, her intervention in Libya and her smearing of the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct. Her poor management of the Health Care task force and her bumbling with Russia would be front page news. Her close ties with Wall Street wouldn’t have needed Bernie Sanders to be part of the conversation. Instead of real coverage, we are getting pre-planned talking points describing her speeches as muscular and a concerted effort to proclaim that she’s wildly popular, is winning every debate and is the most qualified Presidential candidate ever.

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