New Republic: Reporters Suspect Media Matters Is a Hillary Proxy

Michael Crowley's takedown on Hillary and the media in The New Republic is fascinating -- and in some cases, overdoes the hostility between the two forces. But liberals should note that even The New Republic forwards the notion that David Brock's Media Matters collective is a transparent proxy for Team Hillary, and brings numbers to the table:

Many reporters also suspect the Clinton camp of employing outside proxies to attack troublemakers in the media....Many in Washington believe the campaign feeds material to Brock's site, as when Media Matters went after New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut last July after Kornblut misrendered a quote that led to an erroneous story claiming Hillary had criticized fellow Democrats. Not only did Clinton aides fume to the paper's editors, but Media Matters pummeled Kornblut and the Times for several days. (A count of Media Matters stories from October found 39 headlines defending Clinton, compared to 15 for Obama and just one for John Edwards. A Media Matters spokesman strongly denied favoritism.)

Crowley goes on to recount how Hillary likes to intimidate reporters on her beat like Kornblut, now with the WashPost:

Sometimes, Hillary even gets in the act. According to Gerth and Van Natta, Kornblut was just back from a planned vacation she took after her story appeared when she ran into Hillary in a hotel. Referring to Kornblut's casual attire, Hillary cracked, "Anne, I thought you left Barbados"--revealing an ominous awareness of the reporter's movements. "That's their imprimatur," says the Democratic strategist with presidential experience. "When there's a story they don't like, they seize on it and turn it back on the reporter, and make it about the reporter." (As First Lady, Hillary called for a public "frontal assault" against The Washington Post's lead Whitewater reporter, Susan Schmidt, according to the Post's Howard Kurtz, though the plan was never enacted.)

Several sources report hearing that the Clinton campaign has bragged about forcing one reporter at a major news organization from the Hillary beat. The boast, which one source heard from a senior Hillary aide, is incorrect. But the claim has become a part of insider Washington lore. Like the tale of the killed GQ story, it has only enhanced the dark mythology of the Hillary machine -- a mythology the Clintonites don't dispel. "They brag about scalps that they take, " says a Democratic operative who has heard such tales.

This is strange treatment for a press corps that Hillary seems to have had at "Hello," and especially the female reporters. But I think she carries around great insecurity that her career is at the media's mercy every day, and so they need to be instructed on how who is really Boss.

Update 9:45 | Matthew Sheffield. Sister Toldjah is right on the money about this article:

Hillary Clinton started off her presidential campaign talking about how she wanted to have a “conversation” with America. Well sure she does, as long as the conversation revolves around 1) what “wonderful” things she’s done as both First Lady (all the while restricting access to the archives of the work she did as First Lady) and Senator of NY and how she’ll do even more “good things” as president, 2) as long as she knows what questions are going to be asked of her in advance, and 3) as long as the mean ol’ “boys club” doesn’t pick on her, cause if they do, her hubby will rush in to the rescue.

Rest assured that most of the same people who have relentlessly slammed the Bush admininstration’s “secrecy” with regards to the information that comes out of the WH will give La Clinton, the modern day master of controlling the message, a pass. The few who do attack her over this will do so only because they support one of her opponents.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis