Clinton's Got Ducts
Do we really live in a world where Hillary Clinton getting a little moisture in her eyes justifies a THREE PAGE story in the NY Times?
One might marvel at the creativity of a pair of journalists (Patrick Healy and Marc Santora) who are able to stretch out such a non-story to such lengths. How do they do it? one might ask. Well, let's investigate!
First by describing the non-event:
[her] eyes welled with tears, and her voice cracked dramatically on Monday, as she talked about holding up under the rigors of the race and her belief that she is the best candidate for the Democratic nominationThen by comparing her to Ed Muskie (who probably didn't cry, but seemed to):
Note the authors' cleverness here. Why, if you didn't mention the hair thing, you might only get two pages out of this steaming affront to journalism!
If it was not an Ed Muskie moment — Mrs. Clinton did not cry (or look like she was crying) — she was certainly on the verge of it after a woman asked her, at a round table discussion at a coffee shop here, how she managed to get out of bed and soldier through each day.
“How do you do it?” the woman, Marianne Pernold, asked. And, with a touch of humor, she added, “Who does your hair?”
Now one can quote the candidate. But the quote is so short, again, how to stretch? Ah, how about interjecting a "paragraph" reading:
At this point Mrs. Clinton’s voice softened and lowered to a near-hush, and she spoke more haltingly.Oooh. Dramatic.
“Some of us are right some of us are wrong,” she continued, firming up a bit — and sounding, some reporters felt, either angry or resentful about Senator Barack Obama."Some reporters" named Healy and Santora, by chance?
The non story is then padded with a half-page description of the state of the race in New Hampshire: Obama up, McCain doing well, everything we already know. But that won't carry our non story padders through! So what next?
As Mr. Obama stopped briefly for a cup of hot tea in New London, N.H., he was asked about the video image of Mrs. Clinton.Love this passive voice: "was asked" by whom? By a couple of reporters named Healy and Santora? But wait, watch how they take a response that is utterly unprintable, and print it:
“I didn’t see what happened. I don’t know the context of it,” Mr. Obama told reporters. “I know that this process is a grind, so that’s not something I would care to comment on.”And they continue!
Class in the face of douchebags. He is presidential.
Before he walked away, a reporter also asked Mr. Obama whether he believed Mrs. Clinton should drop out of the race if she lost the New Hampshire primary.
“I would never presume to say anything like that,” Mr. Obama said. “Look, we’ve had one caucus, this would be one primary. Right now, I’m just focused on tomorrow.
Our intrepid puffers then continue to give the state of the horserace, mentioning that Romney's TV ads now show in NH every 8.5 minutes (holy shit! where's the story on that?) Blowing this story out to a full three pages with skill that my students can only dream of emulating.
Now, obviously I'm being unfair to Healy and Santora. They weren't the only so-called reporters behaving badly on this one. As the NY Times says, "Michael Luo and Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting."
But seriously, a candidate gets a dustmote in her eye and it's national news in the paper of record? I'm not the first to point out that she's in the traditional catch-22 for professional women: if you're strong, people say you're "cold," and "a bitch," and if you show an ounce of heart (and this wasn't even an ounce), you're an "unstable" "emotional" "wreck." Or, in this case, it's "news."
I do not like Hillary Clinton, because she voted for the war, plays the most cynical politics short of the Rovians, and she really doesn't "get" what we want (the last debate made that clear -- "I've been making change for 30+ years!"), but are you seriously fucking publishing a story that her eyeballs got wet?
Fuck you, NY Times. Fuck you right in your stupid ear.
EDIT/ADDED: Yes, they did come back to the hair thing and print her reply:
about her hair, she said, “luckily on special days you do have help. If you look on some of the Web sites and listen to some of the commentators, they usually catch me when I don’t have help.”
But that's an illness whose discussion we might not have room for today.
Labels: media coverage