by Grania Spingies
TL;DR: it’s not a conspiracy.
It’s a refrain I see in various places on the internet lately: the media simply blows up over every little scandal, fake or otherwise, that involves Hillary Clinton. I think most people would agree that it is reasonable for candidate for the Presidency to be held to a high standard of competency and ethics. A rational person, then, shouldn’t have problems with alleged issues that might show a candidate to be less than ideal. What people are complaining about now, however, is that it is being done unevenly, with Clinton raked over the coals for behavior that isn’t criminal—not a ringing endorsement, but the bar is low this election cycle—and Trump apparently getting the soft-focus treatment that diverts attention away from actual criminal behavior.
Yesterday Diana MacPherson pointed out an example in an article written by Wil Wheaton which asked the question: why have so few media outlets followed up on the news broken by the Washington Post on September 1st about Trump paying off the Florida Attorney General. Media Matters has an analysis of how it has taken a couple of days for the story to make headlines elsewhere. However there are several reasons why this might happen, and none of them point to an anti-Clinton agenda.
- This story was a new angle on old news – the original story broke in March so it is reasonable to assume that some of the delay was caused by reporters checking to ascertain what new facts had been uncovered.
- Whatever caused the delay, it has certainly been widely covered now. As cover-ups or diversions go, clearly the media didn’t get the memo to give Trump an easy ride:
Even The Dallas Morning News has broken with its staunch 75 year run of GOP support and not only disavowed Trump but endorsed Hillary as the “only serious candidate”. With even Republican outlets publicly supporting Hillary, claims that there is a nebulous anti-Hillary bias look exceedingly dubious and shaky.
- Much of the left-wing media still doesn’t take Trump seriously as a Presidential candidate. To a degree, one can’t blame them, it’s not as if he has come up with a single credible policy position to underline his candidacy. But the media does enjoy their character hit-pieces, and there is only so much room for news about taxes and funds when you can get so much mileage out of Trump’s hair, his wives, his genitals and his hands.
Exhibit A – Here’s a deliberately clickbait-y tweet from The Daily Beast today (hardly a hive of conservative right-wingers, nor the gutter press)
The actual article itself is not nearly so carnie-horror show in its tone and content as the sub-editor’s headline, with the author somewhat sympathetic to Marples if not to Trump. The “gross” moment in question is in fact simply Trump comforting his wife during a very painful labor.
Here’s what The Daily Beast characterizes in that piece as “making out”:
In a candle-filled hospital room, Marla listened to her New Age music and used aromatherapy and massage to ride the waves of her contractions. Marla said she and Donald “did a lot of kissing while I was delivering.” Donald even cut the cord.
Out of a strong field of “gross” or newsworthy moments, this one doesn’t (or shouldn’t) even register.
There is plenty of outrage when right-wing outlets try to dredge up old ghosts of non-stories to try to attack Hillary Clinton—the Lewinsky debacle for one. People are rightly annoyed when Clinton is attacked by opponents wielding only irrelevant smear tactics. However this sort of story is par for the course when it comes to Trump.
The bottom line is this: Trump’s scandals are not ignored by the media, but they certainly can fade into the background since they are constantly drowned out by the frankly pointless jeering that passes for journalism these days, as well as constantly being replaced by fresh Trump scandals.
When the mainstream media reports on Clinton, perhaps it gets noticed more because most of the time the reader does not have to wade through several inches of gratuitous sniggering to get to see it. The media treats her as a legitimate candidate, perhaps the only viable candidate of the current election cycle.
The liberal media needs to rein in the light-weight Trump-sneering and start taking this very seriously. CNN’s most recent poll shows that Clinton’s lead from recent weeks has reversed itself and the two candidates are now neck and neck. There will be very little to snigger about if, against all expectations, Trump manages to win the election in November.
That doesn’t mean that legitimate criticism of Clinton should be suppressed. If she is to be the next President of the United States, it is all the more critical that genuine problems are discussed openly. Claiming that Clinton is disproportionately targeted by the media is somewhat like claiming that Christians are persecuted for their faith in the United States.