Yes, the cleavage.
It’s nothing new that Hillary Clinton gets talked about and written about in the media in ways that are both sexist and, at the same time, uniquely Clinton-ist.
Her marriage and her demeanor are dissected and parsed in ways that no other politician has to survive. Sure, there’s been a story here and there about Jeb’s wife and, of course, when candidates or office holders get allegations tossed at them about infidelities, that takes up column inches and air time. But it’s nothing compared to what gets thrown at Hillary Clinton.
The love/hate relationship the media have with Hillary is so pervasive that it’s just become the normal way of viewing her. The media might dislike other political candidates, even other women, but no one suffers the faux-journalistic arrows that Hillary does.
The latest double standard? Reporters are stating as fact that if Hillary heads to one of the usual Clinton summer vacation spots she will most certainly jeopardize her run because …. because, you know, populists head to the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard at their electoral peril.
Now, we all know that media love to play the game with all presidents, and candidates named Clinton, about whether their vacations are too glitzy or whether they ought to be taking vacations at all — except for when George W. headed to Texas to “clear brush.” With all the brush he cleared over his eight years in office, he could have built a small guest house for Condi and Cheney. Or maybe the brush clearing was just for show, because I have to believe their were some ranch hands around for that. But I digress.
For some reason, every summer one of the “it must be a slow news day” reports is about where the president is headed for a little R&R with commentary about the exclusiveness of the spot chosen, forgetting the fact that no one with a Secret Service entourage – like a former first lady – can, as they say in Baltimore about a few days on Marlyand’s Eastern Shore, just be heading“down the ocean, hon.”
Yet, the New York Times decided it was fair game recently to run a story with this headline:
Only to be followed shortly thereafter by a Vanity Fair copycat story titles:
If, as it seems at this point, many of the presidential contenders are playing the “I’m really a populist” card, then why don’t we take a look at all the ways ALL the candidates have a problem with that?
Yes, there is one throwaway reference in the NYTimes piece about the Bushes and Kennebunkport, though I’d suggest it’s way less populist to be owning a multi-million dollar estate in the exclusive New England vacation town than renting a place for a week in the Hamptons. Isn’t that what a lot of families do? Rent a house for a week and hang out? Maybe not with high-profile pals and celebs and not in the same price range that the Clintons can afford, but it’s not like Hill and Bill are out shopping for a gated compound.
So, where are the similar stories criticizing any of the other 2016 contenders and their shaky relationship with populism? It takes virtually no digging or research to discover that Ted Cruz likes to fly on private jets with media moguls or that Mike Huckabee has a multi-millionaire dollar beach home in Florida.
I’m pretty sure there are some anti-populist questions to be raised on those fronts. I haven’t read any stories about how they’d better be careful or voters won’t like them for their expensive tastes. And let’s not forget that Mitt Romney took only the slightest of jabs for his many homes, including and one with a car elevator.
So can we please take these faux issues about populism off the table? Can reporters find it within themselves to cut the feigned outrage and giving of advice over the possible impact on Hillary’s campaign if she hangs out on an exclusive beach for a week with some friends who aren’t poor?
Unless they’re going to do the same for all other presidential wannabes.
Hillary doesn’t have a Hamptons problem. The New York Times and Vanity Fair and all the so-called journalists who think readers will view pieces like this as real news — that take virtually no time, effort or thought to throw together and don’t analyze anything concerning a candidates’ actual qualifications — have a Hillary problem. Or perhaps it’s better explained as promoting an ABH agenda (Anyone But Hillary).
Maybe one of these days the “reporters” who are trying to build careers as political journalists by throwing out pieces that already have a point of view — rather than looking at the bigger picture — will go back to school and get a Journalism 101 refresher and stop writing stories that reflect an inaccurate conclusion someone has decided will sell papers … or get clicks.
Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist, journalism entrepreneur and founder of The Broad Side. She is also the editor of the forthcoming anthology, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox (SheWrites Press, November 2015), already an Amazon #1 Hot New Release! You can find Joanne on Twitter at @jlcbamberger and on Facebook.