The Media Painting #HillaryClinton As Heir To Barack Obama? A Snow Job!
The press has adopted narratives that parallel Clinton spin countering accusations about Wall Street’s influence on her. These days, one will find the media is rife with pieces that question the notion that there is even any proof the Clintons’ acceptance of Wall Street money has in any way influenced their political decisions. In the MSNBC debate in New Hampshire, Clinton very shrilly challenged Sanders to come out and say that she changed her votes because of the money she accepted. Shrewd move on her part, but does taking money translate only in votes changed? I don’t think so. Clinton is far too smart and nuanced a politician to engage in such obviously corrupt behaviors.
No, the extent of Wall Street’s influence on the Clintons should be measured in policy positions, negotiations stances, the final legislation they got behind and why, rather than attempting to determine whether votes were changed as a direct result of payment. The kinds of questions one should ask are: ‘would she be in favor of bringing back Glass-Steagall had Bill Clinton not been the one to repeal it?’ Had Glass-Steagall never been passed and repealed, would she be on-board with passing some updated version of it in a post-Great Recession world? Similar questions should be asked about trade policy. It took a very long time for Secretary Clinton to come out in opposition to the TPP, which she helped negotiate throughout her tenure as Secretary of State. How inaccurate would it be to say she came out against it when the pressure to do so was at its highest and Senator Sanders was rising fast in the polls?
So, one wonders why, at precisely the same time, we keep seeing articles pop-up in all the major publications every time the Clinton campaign floats a new talking point that is designed to discredit Sanders? In “This Is How Hillary Clinton Gets The Coverage She Wants,” Gawker Magazine provides us with a laser pointer on that unseen hand:
Hillary Clinton’s supporters often argue that mainstream political reporters are incapable of covering her positively—or even fairly. While it may be true that the political press doesn’t always write exactly what Clinton would like, emails recently obtained by Gawker offer a case study in how her prodigious and sophisticated press operation manipulates reporters into amplifying her desired message—in this case, down to the very word that The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder used to describe an important policy speech.
The emails in question, which were exchanged by Ambinder, then serving as The Atlantic’s politics editor, and Philippe Reines, Clinton’s notoriously combative spokesman and consigliere, turned up thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in 2012 (and which we are currently suing the State Department over). The same request previously revealed that Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Ambinder’s emails with Reines demonstrate the same kind of transactional reporting, albeit to a much more legible degree: In them, you can see Reines “blackmailing” Ambinder into describing a Clinton speech as “muscular” in exchange for early access to the transcript. In other words, Ambinder outsourced his editorial judgment about the speech to a member of Clinton’s own staff.
That’s two publications. What about Paul Krugman’s spate of op-eds and blog posts after an entire year in which you couldn’t push him to write out Sanders’ name, much less run a comparative analysis of Sanders’ and Clinton’s economic platforms? Charles Blow has taken a more subtle approach by not going all out against Sanders in his op-eds, but leaving very little room for imagination in social media.
What about the tack that the New York Times has taken ever since Sanders declared his candidacy last year? I wrote about that in Alternet in September. What about Matthew Yglesias of Vox Media who has been writing hit pieces about Sanders’ policy proposals timed exactly as Krugman’s? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones? Same thing, all the way to that awful Washington Post endorsement of Hillary Clinton disguised as a hit piece on Sanders. All were timed to coincide. There are very few coincidences in life. Seeing the top writers at practically every publication putting out hit pieces on the same topic, on the same day, is not coincidental. That, you can bet, is the unseen hand of Clinton’s campaign spin machine.
Lee Fang of The Intercept writes about the Clintons’ efforts to undermine Obamacare through their associations, past and current, with a lobbying firm and her advisers who actually lobbied against Obamacare.
As incredible as it may seem, the candidate who is claiming rights of succession to Barack Obama has, as political science professor, Dr. Jason Johnson put it:
— Jason Johnson (@DrJasonJohnson) January 18, 2016
But that very same person has worked to thwart the man she now claims to be the natural heir of. It’s fine to hug Obama that tight, but only if there is nothing contradictory lurking in your recent past. However, it appears there is quite a bit that’s been lurking, just under the surface. Fang writes:
“Consultants associated with the Dewey Square Group, a lobbying firm that has been retained by business interests to defeat a variety of progressive reforms, are playing a major role in the Clinton campaign. Charles Baker III, the co-founder of Dewey, is a senior strategist and the campaign’s chief administrative officer. Michael Whouley, another Dewey co-founder, played an early role in advising Clinton’s plan for the current campaign by convening some of the very first strategy sessions. Senior Dewey officials Jill Alper and Minyon Moore are also close advisers and fundraisers for Clinton, while at least four other Clinton officials have worked at Dewey within the last four years. In addition, disclosures show that Clinton’s SuperPACs Priorities USA Action and Correct the Record have also paid Dewey Square Group for a variety of services in this election.
Undermining Obamacare reforms
Dewey, for instance, worked on behalf of the health insurance industry during the health reform debate, specifically to block the changes to Medicare Advantage that were critical for financing the Affordable Care Act.””
The Clintons share an enormous sense of entitlement, absolutely no appreciation for irony, and zero affinity for even the most basic of ethics. How else would you explain Clinton professing her loyalty to the Obama brand when she has surrounded herself with hired guns who have done their best to destroy that brand over the last eight years, filling their pockets with special interest money? She certainly associates with people who share her dogged pursuit of money. Most of all, how else do you explain Clinton’s full embrace of the one policy of Obama’s that she campaigned against the hardest and the repudiation of her signature policy, one with which she is credited for being the first to promote: universal healthcare?
To begin to understand the Clintons’ faith in their own doctrines, consider how highly the Clintons think of you, the American voter:
“Anyway, according to his book, Geithner got good advice from Clinton. The former president advised him to press for tax hikes on the rich, but to “make sure I didn’t look like I was happy about it.” Then Clinton added that Timmy shouldn’t take the public-anger thing too hard:
“You could take Lloyd Blankfein in an alley and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days,” Clinton said. “Then the blood lust would rise again.””
Source: Matt Taibbi: “The Vampire Squid Tells Us How To Vote,”
An “us against them” mentality is what has guided the Clintons throughout their careers in politics, with “them” being you, the voting public, and not those whom they’ve identified as carrying out a “vast right wing conspiracy.” Everything that ever comes out of the Clinton camp is calibrated to manage the public in order to foil the very voters they sneer at as they court them, and not the vast right wing conspirators.
The Intercept’s Lee Fang, in the same article quoted above, also shows evidence of the Clintons using their power to undermine Dodd-Frank, the legislation that Hillary Clinton now says she wants to strengthen, instead of new Wall Street reforms.
“The Benenson Strategy Group, the consulting firm run by Joel Benenson, now serving as the Clinton campaign’s chief pollster and strategist, was retained by the Financial Services Forum, a lobbying group for Wall Street interests such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Lobbying records show the Financial Services Forum has worked over the years to weaken a variety of Dodd-Frank reforms. In 2013, the Financial Services Forum paid Benenson’s firm $273,459 while it was lobbying on a number of rules that were mandated by Dodd-Frank, including capital requirements designed to prevent another financial crisis. Danny Franklin, a partner with the Benenson Stategy Group, wrote to The Intercept to say the Financial Services Forum is not currently a client of his firm, but declined to comment any further.”
Taking Wall Street money translates into opposing the “Political Revolution” America desperately needs now and strong-arming the media into convincing a hapless public that all it can ever hope for is incremental change. These are the same behaviors we saw in 2008, when the Clintons engaged in smear campaigns against Obama and managed to lose an election that was theirs to win.
Former Obama press secretary Jay Carney chimed in today in his own attempt to interfere with the primary process:
— The Hill (@thehill) February 10, 2016
This is unprecedented and only lends even more credence to Gawker’s investigative piece on Hillary Clinton’s undue influence on the media. So, to answer her question of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton accepting so much Wall Street money is what is behind her opposition to Sanders’ “Political Revolution.” It is also behind what we are now learning is the strong-arming of the mainstream press into convincing a hapless public that all it can ever aspire to is incremental change.
While Americans may not have always voted for change, they always voted for politicians who express hopefulness and the promise of a brighter future for themselves and their children. That is what Bernie Sanders is offering with his candidacy, among many other things.