"Why Won't That Stupid Bitch Quit?" watch
So now the press tells candidates when to quit?
Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there's simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding.
fact is, the media's get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party's nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.
"Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history," wrote Steven Stark in the Boston Phoenix. "When Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she's constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party."
Odd, isn't it?
No longer content to be observers of the campaign, journalists now see themselves as active players in the unfolding drama, and they show no hesitation trying to dictate the basics of the contest, like who should run and who should quit. It's as if journalists are auditioning for the role of the old party bosses.
Indeed, a very strange leap has been made this year by lots of media commentators who argue against Clinton's candidacy. Rather than simply detailing her deficiencies and accentuating the strengths of her opponent, which political observers have done for generations, time and again we saw pundits take the unprecedented step of announcing not only that voters should not support Clinton, but that she should also quit. She should stop competing.
More often than not, the analysis ends up resembling poorly argued temper tantrums.
Many of which tantrums we've collected in this series for your reading pleasure, both from [cough] journalists and bloggers.
With Clinton, though, the press seems to have almost complete disregard for the 14 million voters who have backed her candidacy, as well as the idea that she is their representative in this race. Instead, they treat her entire campaign as some sort of vanity exercise in which voters do not exist.
And if pundits do acknowledge the Clinton voters, it's often with baffling ignorance, the way Time's Mark Halperin claimed many of Clinton's supporters would be "relieved" and "even delighted" if she dropped out. Really? Delighted? Halperin offered no proof to back up the peculiar notion.
But again, the point here worth stressing from a journalism perspective is that this is all brand new.
Bohlert then adduces Reagan (1976), Kennedy (1980), Hart (1984), Jackson (1988), Brown (1992), none of whom, when they continued their campaigns, were called upon by the press to quit.
If you look at Reagan and Kennedy and Hart and Jackson and Brown, those men all ran competitive races. But toward the end of the primary season it was clear most of them had no mathematical chance of winning the nomination. (Reagan was the exception.) Yet none of them was told collectively by the press to go home. Nor were they routinely depicted in the media as being self-absorbed.
Today, Clinton does have a chance to win. Yet she has been told by the press to go home and to get over herself.
Why would it be, I wonder? Is there something about Hillary that's different from Ronald, Teddy, Gary, Jesse, and Jerry? What could it be?
'Tis a puzzlement!
And you know what? If we let them get away with it, they'll keep doing it.