Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in Senate and House hearings Wednesday on intelligence failures in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered last year, on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Yet the New York Times buried the story on page A11, in the International section, content with running a photo of Clinton on the front page.
The Times held a "Times Talks" event Tuesday night at TheTimesCenter (all one word), part of the new New York Times Building now dominating 40th and 41st Street in Midtown Manhattan like a behemoth power station. "Inside the News: The Issues & The Elections: Where Do the Candidates Stand?" was advertised as a sell-out, but there were at least 70 empty seats in the 373-seat auditorium.
From a low stage, Times journalists Richard Berke, Elisabeth Bumiller, Michael Gordon, David Leonhardt and Robin Toner took turns outlining the placement on the ideological spectrum of Obama and Clinton's various policies and advisors (McCain was often ignored). A bug kept zapping at the speakers in turn, to the amusement of the audience.
Around the 30-minute mark, moderator and Times Assistant Managing Editor (the title understates his influence) Richard Berke asked for a show of hands to measure support for the candidates. My very rough count in the darkened auditorium: 140 Obama supporters, 120 Clinton supporters, 50 independents and maybe half a dozen McCain supporters. Berke's follow-up call for Huckabee supporters drew derisive laughter.