One minute the liberal media will tell you that Hillary Clinton is a tough-as-nails politician and stateswoman who is eminently qualified for the White House and in the next the same folks are in high dudgeon about how the former secretary of state is the target of mean ol' "sexist" and "ageist" Republicans.
Witness msnbc.com's Aliyah Frumin riding valiantly to the rescue of the poor sexagenarian damsel in distress/grandmother-to-be. "When it comes to conservative criticism of the Clintons, not even Chelsea’s unborn child is immune," Frumin laments, citing a New York Post columnist as her evidence of a vast right-wing conspiracy to rain on Grandma Hillary's 2016 parade:
On Tuesday, New York Post columnist Kyle Smith, in a piece titled “An open letter to Chelsea Clinton’s fetus,” criticized the family after Hillary Clinton’s daughter announced – alongside her mother last week– that she was expecting a baby with husband Marc Mezvinsky. The child’s primary role, Smith argued, will be a “stage prop.”
“In two years or so, when most babies are just learning to crawl, you will be hitting the road! Grandma Hillary is going to need you to smile and coo whenever there are Sunshine Men around,” Smith writes, adding : “So play nice and don’t projectile vomit. Grandma is not what grown-ups call ‘maternal.’”
Indeed, the conservative criticism of Hillary Clinton, considered a Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, has now gone from Benghazi to babies.
Of course, the criticism is not the grandbaby per se but that the Clinton PR machine will masterfully play a pliant news media like a fiddle, using human-interest Grandma Hillary angles to maximum effect to counteract the possibility that, you know, she might get thoroughly vetted on both the issues and on her disastrous run as Obama's first-term secretary of state.
But Frumin argues that it's not just conservatives who are unfairly focused on the prospect of Hillary being grandmother to a toddler when the 2016 campaign season is in full swing. Why, it's liberal outlets too, she grouses:
The Drudge Report posted an unflattering photo of Clinton with the headline “Grandma Hillary.” The implication was clear: she’s too old to be president. The coverage immediately sparked accusations of ageism.
And some opponents of abortion bizarrely pointed out that the Clintons referred to the 34-year-old’s child as a “baby” instead of a “fetus” and that it somehow did not jive with the Clintons support to be pro-choice. The implication is those who back abortion rights must automatically be in favor of abortion instead of pregnancy.
Such rhetoric risks alienating with older, women voters – two groups that are oftentimes considered the most likely to come out to the polls.
But it’s not just conservatives. Plenty of mainstream outlets have produced eyebrow-raising coverage, begging the question of how we would treat this news if Clinton were a man.
The Christian Science Monitor ran a headline, “Chelsea Clinton baby: Will Hillary Clinton be less likely to run in 2016”? and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin argued the pregnancy will “change the dynamic of the campaign” on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Politico had a story, “What to expect when she’s expecting” saying the “armchair thinking” is that having a grandchild “may make the Iowa State Fair a less appealing place to spend the summer of 2015. Why beg donors for money at dozens of events a month when there’s a happy baby to spend time with in New York?”
Where Frumin is off the mark, however, is that liberal pundits are couching this in terms of Mrs. Clinton being tempted to prefer the joys of time with her grandchild over wearing herself out in furious campaigning in a primary season which would likely see only token opposition, if even that, on her march to the coronation, er, Democratic convention. Frumin may see that as sexist and demeaning, but the intent is anything but coming from friendly liberal sources.
In closing her story, Frumin sought to assure us that all of this talk just rolls off Mrs. Clinton's back:
Perhaps ironically, Clinton spoke out against how women are treated differently in the media at the “Women in the World” conference earlier this month in New York City, saying “the double standard is alive and well.” The former first lady also gave advice to young women: Don’t take it too seriously.
“You can’t let it crush you and you have to be resilient enough to keep moving forward the personal setbacks,” she said.
It's pretty clear what's going on here. MSNBC will insist Mrs. Clinton doesn't give a rat's behind what anyone is saying while at the same time insisting on being offended for her and hyping the "war-on-women" spinoff meme that is just too good for the network to ignore.