Neal Gabler: Mainstream Media Have ‘Deliberately And Unfairly Abused’ Hillary Since The 1990s

Posted on Thu 04/14/2016 by

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Tom Johnson picture-58-1409692124By Tom Johnson ~

Author and former Fox News Watch panelist Neal Gabler may or may not have a position on “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” but he does believe that when it comes to Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, “the scandals didn’t create the meme of untrustworthiness about them. The meme of untrustworthiness created the scandals.”

In a piece that ran Tuesday on Salon and was originally published at BillMoyers.com, Gabler contended that the MSM “should have been a firewall against…allegations” such as the Whitewater “non-scandal,” but “instead…were an accelerant, not only because they didn’t like the cornpone Clintons, but because they knew the truth was likely to be far less interesting than the suspicions of wrongdoing. The media, after all, are in the reader business, not the truth business.”

On more recent matters, Gabler wrote that Hillary has been “exculpated” regarding Benghazi and commented, apropos of the e-mail uproar, that “the media don’t want to kill the story any more than the Republicans do. It’s just too delicious.” He charged that Hillary “has been deliberately and unfairly abused by the press for years, her motives always impugned, her gaffes blown out of proportion, her missteps always attributed not to miscalculations or ordinary human foible but to deep character flaws.”

From Gabler’s article (bolding added):

neal_gabler[Hillary] has been the media’s national piñata for so long, and the criticisms of her are so familiar by now, they are embedded in our consciousness as presumptions of guilt…

…[P]reordained, unexamined ideas are just another way the media continue to fail the public, and when it comes to Hillary Clinton, the failure is spectacular. The media needle has been stuck in the same groove for two decades…

…[W]hat really hurts Clinton may lie not so much in herself as in a post-modernist fault of the media. First, they set up a narrative…Then they keep pounding on it, over years, so that, in this particular case, they aren’t really reporting on Hillary Clinton anymore, they are reporting on their version of Hillary Clinton. The more they report, the more invested they become in their version…

…The New York Times’ Jeff Gerth was the first to pounce on Whitewater, the non-scandal that triggered the Clintons-are-duplicitous meme…He was, one imagines, doing his best Woodward/Bernstein impression, with the Clintons standing in for Nixon…

…[F]alse or not, once the virus was loose, every reporter caught it, fancying himself a would-be Woodstein. Remember Travelgate?…Or the scandal over the Rose legal files?…Or the Vince Foster suicide?…

All, in the final analysis, were non-stories, some of them cooked up by partisans and spread by the press to accomplish exactly what the Republicans wanted to accomplish: to create a vague nimbus of guilt around the Clintons.

…The press should have been a firewall against these allegations. Instead, they were an accelerant, not only because they didn’t like the cornpone Clintons, but because they knew the truth was likely to be far less interesting than the suspicions of wrongdoing. The media, after all, are in the reader business, not the truth business…

…[W]hatever you may think of the Clintons, the scandals didn’t create the meme of untrustworthiness about them. The meme of untrustworthiness created the scandals…

…Hillary Clinton isn’t without sin. No candidate is. But she has been deliberately and unfairly abused by the press for years, her motives always impugned, her gaffes blown out of proportion, her missteps always attributed not to miscalculations or ordinary human foible but to deep character flaws.

Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.

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