'The New York Times' Tried to Make the Weiner Story a Clinton Story, and the Result Is Embarrassing
By Charles P. Pierce, August 31, 2016
In other news, not only is Vladimir Putin not welcome in the Ukraine, he's not welcome in the grocery stores of West Palm Beach, either. This…is CNN.
This Vladimir Putin was arrested after cops responded to a report that a man was screaming at employees at the grocery store in Florida. Putin told police he had missed his ride, which would never happen to the other Putin. According to a police report, he also refused to give officers his name. We can't imagine why. West Palm Beach Putin, which is a really great alias he should consider, was charged with resisting and/or obstructing an officer without violence. No word on whether he's retained a lawyer.Obviously, since this Vladmir Putin has nothing to do with Paul Manafort's good pal in the Kremlin, the Trump campaign should be badgered for four days for a reaction to this imperial aggression in the produce aisles of Florida. That, of course, assumes that The New York Times employs the same standards of journalism that are in play whenever it writes about the Clintons.
The Times obsession with finding something-anything!-it could hang on the Clintons goes all the way back to that moment three editors ago when the paper realized that its big Whitewater scoop was little more than a bag of Arkansas hot air. It has continued through the coverage of the Benghazi nothingburger, the e-mail nothingburger, and now, the Clinton Foundation nothingburger. When it comes to the once and (perhaps) future president of the United States, the Newspaper of Record is the In-and-Out of nothingburgers.
I thought that Dowd's effort over the weekend-- which can be fairly summarized as "The Republican presidential campaign is an obvious freak show but Hillary Rodham Clinton Still Has Cooties"-- might have been the height of the form. However, I had not reckoned with the paper's coverage of the unfortunate episode currently ongoing between Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. You want to see some tasty nothingburger, check out this passage.
From the Times:
Now, Mr. Weiner's tawdry activities may have claimed his marriage-- Ms. Abedin told him that she wanted to separate-- and have cast another shadow on the adviser and confidante who has been by Mrs. Clinton's side for the past two decades. Ms. Abedin was already a major figure this summer in controversies over Mrs. Clinton's handling of classified information as secretary of state and over ties between the Clinton family foundation and Mrs. Clinton's State Department.This is horrible. This is ghastly. This is cheap shot by deliberate imprecision. This is the kind of thing that would get thrown back in the face of rookie reporters in Seagoville, Texas.
What "shadow," precisely, is it that her husband's misbehavior is casting over Ms. Abedin? Other than the fact that summoning up this "shadow" is a way to get the words "classified information" into a story about the sad public dissolution of a marriage, as well as a way to wedge in a reference to the Clinton Foundation. This is one large storage space of a "shadow." I mean it. Who in the unholy fck thinks like this?
Believe it or not-- and by now you should-- it gets even worse.
Mr. Weiner's extramarital behavior also threatens to remind voters about the troubles in the Clintons' own marriage over the decades, including Mrs. Clinton's much-debated decision to remain with then-President Bill Clinton after revelations of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Ms. Abedin's choice to separate from her husband evokes the debates that erupted over Mrs. Clinton's handling of the Lewinsky affair, a scandal her campaign wants left in the past.Does the Times really believe that anyone needs "reminding" about the Lewinsky scandal? Do I need to remind the Times that, judging by the results of the 1998 midterm elections and by Bill Clinton's approval ratings when he left office, the country understood that scandal well enough to be thoroughly sick of it almost 20 years ago?
Further, was HRC's decision to stay married really "much-debated?" Were there really debates that "erupted" over HRC's handling of the Lewinsky affair? Were they loud enough that anyone remembers them well enough to use them in calculating for whom to cast a vote in 2016? They certainly don't seem to be relevant to this campaign anywhere save the Times newsroom, the universe of wingnut talk-radio, and the vast, echoing canyons of Maureen Dowd's mind.
The Times remains a great newspaper. I stand by my opinion that the Times can do one thing better than any other newspaper-- it can be The New York Times. But, when it comes to the Clintons, Jesus God, the paper is one hot mess. That does not bode well for the next four to eight years, either.