Time’s Stengel: ‘Certain Amount of Glee’ in Press Over Hillary’s Failures

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterTime magazine managing editor Richard Stengel made an open confession about the mainstream media’s pro-Obama leanings on Monday’s "The Situation Room." " I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press." Despite this candor, he then went on to say that the press doesn’t "play favorites," almost contradicting what he had said earlier about the press coverage of Hillary Clinton.

Stengel participated in a panel discussion with CNN contributor Roland Martin and CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Host Wolf Blitzer asked the three about Bill Clinton’s recent statement about his wife Hillary, in which he charged that people were trying to "run her out of the race."

Blitzer first asked Stengel, "Does Bill Clinton have a point?" Stengel’s full answer:

STENGEL: Well, look, Wolf, I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press. But the point is I don't think the press plays favorites. We're in favor of getting on the front page, and I think they've both have been treated ill at certain times and both have been treated well.

The CNN host then asked Martin for his take. The CNN contributor quipped, "I think Bill Clinton is whining, I mean pure and simple." Yellin was equally blunt. "That's silly. I mean, what we're hearing Bill Clinton do right now is play for time."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the panel discussion from Monday’s "The Situation Room:"

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterWOLF BLITZER: Let's discuss Bill Clinton's plea and more. Joining us, our CNN political analyst Roland Martin. He's in Chicago. He posts hosts his own radio talk show. He's also a syndicated columnist. Also joining us, Richard Stengel -- he's managing editor of our sister publication, Time magazine. He's joining us from New York. And here in Washington, our own Jessica Yellin. They are all part of the best political team on television.

Rick, let me start with you. Does Bill Clinton have a point?

RICHARD STENGEL, TIME MANAGING EDITOR: (Laughs) Well, look, Wolf, I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press. But the point is I don't think the press plays favorites. We're in favor of getting on the front page, and I think they've both have been treated ill at certain times and both have been treated well.

BLITZER: Because a lot of us remember that cover story in Time magazine, ‘And the Winner Is...". You obviously remember it very well. I'll ask you the same question, Roland. What do you think?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think Bill Clinton is whining, I mean pure and simple. I mean, really, if you look at his history, he talks about this whole issue of her doing well in the Electoral College votes right now. Well, wait a minute. If that was the case, basing the results on a poll, he would never have been President. She never would have been First Lady, because Michael Dukakis would have beaten George H. W. Bush by 17 points, you know? So to sit here and say well, all the people are pushing -- pushing her out -- but, also, keep in mind something. We all -- all the pundits said that if John Edwards and Barack Obama didn't win Iowa and New Hampshire, she would have run away with the nomination. I never heard Bill Clinton complain about those comments.

BLITZER: Because you hear a lot of Clinton supporters make this point, Jessica, and let me run it by you. They say if it were reversed, if Hillary Clinton were ahead in the superdelegates, ahead in the pledged delegates, and he was mathematically in deep trouble, no one would be saying Barack Obama, get out of this race.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's silly. I mean, what we're hearing Bill Clinton do right now is play for time -- Brian Todd said it right -- and that doesn't take away from the fact that maybe the Clintons are astonished things have gone so badly for them, that the media cycle is as negative about her as it is. But that doesn't take away from the fact that we have to report the mathematical reality of the situation, as much as they don't like it. His argument makes sense only if there were a secret well of superdelegates who are just chomping at the bit to come out for Hillary Clinton, and they're not.

Later, when Blitzer asked Yellin about the possibility of Hillary Clinton being the vice presidential nominee, the CNN correspondent made the following claim about the former First Lady:

YELLIN: Well, I think, look, you have you to go through the process of elimination. She does fit on the national security credentials. She does fit on a lot of categories. There is a scenario in which you could see that Barack Obama would feel it's necessary to put Clinton on the ticket, especially if it's something she wants so badly that she suddenly makes it clear that she's not going to go all-out campaigning for him if she isn't on the ticket.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center