It's time for the media to admit that Hillary Clinton is popular
By Matthew Yglesias, June 1, 2015
Quinnipiac is out with a new poll that confirms something the national media is loathe to admit, and that essentially never surfaces in their coverage of one of the most-covered people in the world today: Hillary Clinton is the most popular politician in America.
Hillary Clinton is the most popular politician in America
The former Secretary of State versus...
It would be genuinely silly to think that her early leads in general election polling tell us anything interesting about what will happen in November 2016. But they tell us a lot about how people feel in May 2015, and the way they feel is pretty good about Hillary Clinton.
According to Gallup, for example, she is the most admired woman in the world. What's more, she has been the most admired woman in the world for 17 out of the past 18 years.
Journalists don't like Hillary Clinton
But the press hates to admit this. For Clinton, good news is never just good news. Instead it's an opportunity to remind the public about the media's negative narratives about Clinton and then to muse on the fact that her ratings somehow manage to hold up despite these narratives.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal wrote up an earlier poll showing Clinton beating all opponents:
Hillary Clinton's stature has been battered after more than a month of controversy over her fundraising and email practices, but support for her among Democrats remains strong and unshaken, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.And here's how the New York Times wrote up yet another poll showing Clinton beating all opponents:
Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to have initially weathered a barrage of news about her use of a private email account when she was secretary of state and the practices of her family's foundation, an indication that she is starting her second presidential bid with an unusual durability among Democratic voters.This framing is not surprising, since, among journalists, Clinton is one of the least popular politicians. She is not forthcoming or entertaining with the press. She doesn't offer good quotes. She doesn't like journalists, respect what we do, or care to hide her disdain for the media. She feels that the right-wing press has tried to destroy her for decades, that the mainstream press got played like a cheap fiddle by the conservative press, and that even the liberal press was overwhelmingly hostile to her during her 2008 campaign.
The public also hates journalists
Journalists are obviously free to dislike politicians who are uncooperative with the press, and to celebrate those who embrace a more freewheeling, media-friendly style. But reporters all too often confused the conventional wisdom of the journo-pack with the opinions of actual voters.
The reality is that Clinton's disdain for the press is largely shared by the public, which does not think journalists are credible or contribute to society's well-being.
At the same time, most of the "bad" narratives about both Clintons that exist in the media are essentially self-centered. From an impeachment grounded in Bill's effort to keep an extramarital affair out of the newspapers to a scandal about an email server designed to keep the contents of Hillary's messages out of the newspapers, the Clintons have continually run afoul of the press's fervent desire to know everything.
But few regular people evaluate public figures on the basis of their level of cooperation with media inquiries. Clinton's brand of cautious center-left politics and her genuine passion for trying to bring people together and make deals more or less reflects what the public wants from a politician.