Bozell Column: Beware Hillary's 'Whitewash'
The Hillary Clinton juggernaut likes to try and run over every new threat, especially the ones they can call "old news." Every new book on her life, personal and political, is dismissed as "old news" – unless the person retelling and reshaping the "old news" is Hillary. Her recounting of her life is minty-fresh. Every other book smells like a reopened casket.
Whenever – if ever – authors of Hillary books are introduced by the national media, the tone of the interviews focuses in on Hillary’s talking point: "Why should anyone care?" From the start, the message is that these books belong in the garbage can, not in the library. The books that have come out this year have provided interesting new material that should in some way shape the media’s understanding of Hillary. Yet even liberals like Carl Bernstein or the New York Times duo of Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta have seen their books presented not as "news," but as a pernicious attempt to change Hillary’s narrative.
How is it that the wife of an impeached president, the policy architect of a 1300-page left-wing health-care fiasco, and the document-shredding stonewaller of a welter of scandals can turn her controversial career and bizarre First Marriage into assets, and not liabilities? How is that Team Clinton, disgraced and disgraceful, is back for another presidential run?
Credit the national "news" media.
My colleague Tim Graham and I have spent a couple of years reviewing all of the national media’s framing and promotion of Hillary Rodham Clinton since her national debut in 1992. Their often-gushy and gooey treatment of her political life and ethical fiascoes can be summed up in one word (and one book): "Whitewash."
They are the stereotype of the aggressive watchdog, except the media elite are baring their teeth and growling and barking – at conservative critics of Hillary, while rolling over and playing the slobbery pooch for her. They have downplayed or ignored her every scandal, bizarrely suggesting to the public that they should hold her in high esteem for her honesty and integrity; a Time reporter just called her a "moral conservative." They have taken her stark black-and-white voting record that scores 95-percent or 100-percent rankings from liberal interest groups and implausibly painted it into a landscape of soft and comforting centrist pastels.
In short, they have read Hillary’s self-serving narrative, where she is Joan of Arc riding high on a horse of feminist revolution, and they have embraced it and imbibed it. Her heroic narrative of parting the waters for womanhood is also theirs. With the power of that myth, she has intimidated Republicans and Democrats alike into allowing her royal parade to the mountain top of presidential politics.
The subtitle of the book is "What the Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will." We interviewed dozens of top conservatives from Limbaugh to Hannity to Ingraham to Gingrich, men and women who have studied the relationship between Hillary and the media for years. Their revelations provide a sturdy antidote to media favoritism and provide a viewpoint the media should have been including, not excluding in their news coverage.
So why is all the "old news" about Hillary Clinton relevant? Even conservatives seem fatigued at the idea of "refighting" the last Clinton era. But you can’t have Clinton fatigue as they present themselves grinning broadly again at the White House door. With the Clintons, the patterns they revealed in the "old news" are repeating themselves in the current news – and so will the media whitewash cycle, unless conservatives speak out.
Look no further than the donations and bundling of Hillary donor Norman Hsu, who escaped arrest warrants for 15 years. Have the media pounded away at that story? No, especially the TV news people. How many of your friends would even recognize the name? Or how to pronounce is as "shoe"?
Why do the Clintons fundraise with such careening sloppiness, so much impunity? Because the news networks can’t seem to suggest that it’s in any way a political problem for them to repeat every over-aggressive mistake they made during the 1996 re-election campaign.
If conservatives can’t muster the vigilance to be an alternative information source to gooey anchormen and Olber-men and morning show hosts, history will repeat itself in a tiresome rerun of the first frazzled Clinton presidency. All that scandalous "old news" will be repeated. The pattern of deception will be the same: from her privileged and unaccountable position of strength, Hillary will feel free to be corrupt. Why should people care about a parade of Katie Couric softball-pitch interviews? Or the bubbly trail of soapy Hillary cover stories in Time or Newsweek? Because failing to pay attention to the pattern insures it will happen again in 2008. And 2009. And 2010.