The Hillary Clinton email story is getting ugly, showing the nasty side of a longtime D.C. institution. Not Clinton herself, though. The political media. Political reporters are in an orgasmic frenzy at the chance to play out the tired narratives about the Clintons that they long ago bought from Republican operatives. They're outraged about the difficulties of getting last-minute press credentials at the United Nations. And because it's Hillary Clinton, they feel confident in explaining what's in her head, what this story Tells Us About Hillary, as if it's not a story that basically only a certain class of political reporter gives a shred of a damn about.
Take Ben Smith's Buzzfeed write-up, which begins with four paragraphs on the difficulty of getting press access to the U.N.
Feel bad for reporters who couldn't get credentials for the Hillary presser because they thought she was just talking about women, not email
Actually, Smith suggests, feel bad also for those who got in, because "The scene was a mess." Meanwhile, over at the Meet the Press
website, the crack team of Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann began by citing another reporter's view
that "What we learned yesterday is that Hillary Clinton hasn't changed a thing." What does that mean? "Folks, this is the Clinton Way. Secretive. Lawyerly. Dismissive of the press."
Dare I suspect that maybe the "dismissive of the press" part is what they really care about? Ben Smith also touched on that, writing that "she soldiered through Tuesday, looking at the press pack with undisguised dislike."
Serious question, guys: Watching this media circle jerk, who the fuck could blame her? I'm not some giant Clinton fan, but the spectacle of hundreds of reporters wetting themselves over this nothing-burger of a story inspires visceral disgust. A tinge of shame at being a person who writes about politics, even though I do so from outside this system. The most visible thing here is the glaring entitlement of the media. Take the smugness of, for instance, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman's tweet that "If the goal was to [...] wear out reporters, that didn't happen." No, Beltway political reporters are infinitely energized by a Clinton personality story. They will never be worn out with that red meat to feed on. But stories that matter ... those they all too frequently get all jaded about, and let slide without serious investigation. Ben Smith, again, with yet another invocation of a reporter as the true expert about this story:
Across some 10 feet of brown carpet, some 200 reporters and more than 25 cameras gathered — the biggest crowd assembled here since, one veteran correspondent wagered, the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003.
Ah, yes, the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003. Talk about the other side of the coin when it comes to political reporters' intensity, excitement, and doggedness in covering a story. And that, guys—well, that and the fact that apparently the profession decided en masse that Hillary Clinton's email is more important than anything that happened at the U.N. in the past 12 years—is a great capper on how bad this whole story is making you look.
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