‘Liberal media’ not so liberal about Hillary Clinton

Conservatives love to blame the media when a Democrat wins an election, claiming their side’s loss was caused at least partly by the bias of the “lamestream media.” Now, with a woman once again running for president, the GOP and the Beltway media have found a new target — magazines aimed at women.

A fairly silly story by Politico titled “Where the media loves Hillary Clinton” raises the issue that traditional women’s magazines are automatically in the bag for Hillary. Except that they’re not.

True, some in the women’s publishing industry are Clinton supporters, like Vogue Editor Anna Wintour. Wintour is a friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton “and has even taken her shopping,” Politico said. Horrors — two friends going shopping! Politico also seemed astonished that Clinton has appeared in Vogue seven times. Gee, she became first lady in 1993, she was elected a senator in 2000, and she served as secretary of state. Any reason that someone in the public eye for so long should grace the pages of a magazine seven times over 20 years?

“The reporting and writing often veers beyond alignment and into outright boosterism — if not of Clinton herself, then of Democrats and the progressive causes they identify with,” the story continued, saying that women’s magazines have “mostly liberal audiences.”

That would come as a surprise to the many conservative readers of women’s magazines who no doubt will vote for the Republican candidate for president.

As far as “progressive causes,” maybe we should instead read “issues affecting women,” such as health care, equal pay, family leave, child care, abortion, birth control, and many other issues. Newsflash to Politico: Women’s magazines have been writing about these topics long before women started running for office in greater numbers, and they’ll still be writing about them no matter who wins the 2016 election.

Politico offered a platform for the poor, neglected Republican side, which obviously isn’t getting any media coverage these days. “ ‘I just hope that these editors, which in my experience tend to be very liberal women, can take their blinders off and can see that there are lots of conservative issues women can embrace and lots of conservative women who can be celebrated,’ said Katie Packer Gage, a top campaign aide for Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential bid.”

Politico was forced to come clean about coverage of both parties. “The magazines don’t ignore the GOP,” the story continued. “Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Reps. Elise Stefanik, Martha McSally, Martha Roby, and Jaime Herrera Beutler have all been featured in print or online over the past few months. In previous years, Vogue has written about Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Nikki Haley, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, and other Republicans. And as the cycle gets moving, more GOP women will probably be covered.”

Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive disagreed with Politico’s premise.

” ‘I think there’s a misconception that fashion or women’s fashion magazines lean one way, that we’re Democrats,’ ” the Politico story quoted her as saying. ” ‘So part of our coverage that we really adhere to is a fairness and a philosophy of being pro-woman, nonpartisan,’ she said, noting that last fall she interviewed Stefanik and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). ‘We have 20 million print and online readers, and these are women whose political views are not monolithic. We keep that top of mind when it comes to our coverage of Washington and politics.’ ”

Lest anyone think the newspapers or other media outlets that tend to be considered liberal are also guilty of Clinton boosterism, consider that it was The New York Times that has written the most about Clinton’s private email server and also had non-exclusive “exclusive” material from Clinton Cash, the most recent anti-Clinton book, which claimed that donors to the Clinton Foundation were trying to buy access by giving to a charity.

Now the Beltway media are sniping that Clinton is more interested in talking to average citizens than spending all of her time courting Washington political reporters. Here’s what one New York Times political reporter tweeted about Clinton as she was meeting with voters: “In Iowa, Queen Hillary and the Everyday Americans of the Round Table distribute alms to the clamoring press.”

Really? “Queen Hillary,” Jason Horowitz?

Dismissing her Democratic opponents, “that leaves the news media as her only real opponent so far on the way to the Democratic presidential nomination,” Horowitz said in his Times piece. No pussyfooting there; the reporter has thrown down the glove as her opponent.

Horowitz also made references to Clinton snapping “her head to the left in a Janet Jackson-era dance move.” He also said that “she seems less a presidential candidate than a historical figure, magically animated from a wax museum to claim what is rightfully hers.”

Nothing sexist there, right? Nothing like impartial journalism.

A 2014 story in the Washington Post followed the same lines of thought as the recent Politico piece. “The often easy questions and sympathetic portrayals found in fashion magazines — the stories are aiming for different goals than trying to explain someone’s political beliefs and past decisions — can be attractive for a political candidate, especially one who has accumulated as much criticism as Clinton has.”

Once again, we seem to have a double standard of coverage of male and female candidates. Can you imagine the blowback if reporters routinely referred to male candidates in regal terms? And where is the criticism of the softball questions Republicans are routinely asked on Fox News?

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, comedian Cecily Strong asked the members of the media in the audience to take the following pledge: “I solemnly swear not to comment on Hillary Clinton’s appearance, because that is not journalism.”

Somehow, I don’t think she had many takers.


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