Hil­lary’s 2016 game plan: Con­trol the me­dia

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

In early 2007, the main­stream po­lit­i­cal pun­dits were al­ready fall­ing in line, pre­dict­ing that Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton would be her party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee for an elec­tion still nearly two years hence.

Hil­lary was The Cho­sen One. The pun­dits said she was un­stop­pable: She had the “Clin­ton Ma­chine” be­hind her — the ruth­less team of op­er­a­tives and dirt-dig­gers who twice put her hus­band into of­fice — as well as tens of mil­lions of email ad­dresses and, of course, ac­cess to hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars at the snap of her fin­gers.

She lost. Badly. But she didn’t just lose. While sell­ing her­self as the ma­ture can­di­date whom Amer­i­cans could trust to han­dle prop­erly that emer­gency “3 a.m. phone call,” she got her hat handed to her by a 47-year-old with more ex­pe­ri­ence as a com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer than a U.S. se­na­tor, a job he’d held only since 2004.

Amer­i­cans didn’t love Barack Obama. And most prob­a­bly didn’t fall for his tripe about “hope” and “change” and a postpar­ti­san pres­i­dency. They sim­ply didn’t like — and didn’t trust — Hil­lary.

More, though, the me­dia de­cided it was time for a change. In­stead of a pro­fes­sional politi­cian — an old and tired face — the main­stream me­dia put its mus­cle be­hind the up and comer. When re­ports emerged in March 2008 that Mrs. Clin­ton had lied about tak­ing hos­tile fire from snipers dur­ing a March 1996 visit to U.S. troops at Tu­zla Air Base in Bos­nia, the press pum­meled her.

There was a new Cho­sen One. And while she stayed on for two more months, Mrs. Clin­ton was done. The me­dia had de­cided — they bailed on her to sup­port the man whose victory would be the his­toric elec­tion of “the first black pres­i­dent.” On June 7, she quit the race.

Now, she’s back — with a whole new bag of lies. But this time she has a plan: She’ll con­trol the me­dia — and she’s al­ready putting her plan into ac­tion.

Be­fore her Sun­day an­nounce­ment, Team Hil­lary held pri­vate din­ners with me­dia bigs. Off the record, of course. At­tend­ing were ABC’s Diane Sawyer, David Muir and Ge­orge Stephanopou­los, who was Bill Clin­ton’s White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor (and also the guy who cre­ated the “war on women” nar­ra­tive the press used against Repub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney in 2012). Also win­ing and dining were CBS’s No­rah O’Don­nell and NBC’s Sa­van­nah Guthrie, who re­cently at­tacked Sen. Rand Paul and re­peat­edly talked over him dur­ing a con­tentious in­ter­view (which, as you can pre­dict, led to MSM charges that Mr. Paul hates women).

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough (once a Repub­li­can law­maker) was there, as were sev­eral re­porters from CNN, and, as al­ways, Mike Allen of the lib­eral Politico web­site.

The New York City din­ner came a night af­ter MSM “jour­nal­ists” dined in D.C. at the home of John Podesta, a top Clin­ton ad­viser and soon to be Hil­lary’s cam­paign chair­man. At­tend­ing that offthe-record din­ner were re­porters from “The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post, Politico, The Wall Street Jour­nal, The As­so­ci­ated Press, Bloomberg, McClatchy, Reuters and sev­eral ma­jor TV net­works,” ac­cord­ing to The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

While munch­ing on a shrimp ap­pe­tizer and home­made cook­ies with a se­lec­tion of wine and beer — “in­clud­ing, ap­pro­pri­ately, Brook­lyn Lager” — the Huf­fPost said, Hil­lary wowed the re­porters, who no doubt felt spe­cial to have been picked for the high-level con­clave.

And so, Op­er­a­tion Hil­lary 2016 has be­gun. She needs the me­dia to push the same mes­sage they did last time: This elec­tion is his­toric, “the first fe­male pres­i­dent,” blah blah blah. And so, the MSM will push that meme for the next 18 months.

Mrs. Clin­ton has given them their march­ing or­ders — attack the Repub­li­cans, pro­tect and exalt me. And they’ll ig­nore all the lies, un­like last time. Look al­ready how the MSM has dis­missed the Benghazi de­ba­cle, or Mrs. Clin­ton delet­ing 33,000 emails from her se­cret server. This time, she truly is the Cho­sen One.

But there’s a sim­ple prob­lem: Just as in 2008, vot­ers still don’t like her, and they sure don’t trust her. They gave Mr. Obama the ben­e­fit of the doubt; they won’t do so for Mrs. Clin­ton. She doesn’t know yet, but she’s go­ing to lose again. Badly.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

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