Dylan Byers over at the Charlie Pierce-dubbed Tiger Beat on the Potomac (aka Politico) spent a nanosecond thinking about how "inevitable" Hillary Clinton is, and then a nanosecond more inventing a couple of possible roadblocks. The first one blew my mind.
The conventional wisdom among Clinton's supporters is that Clinton is invincible, because she has already weathered all the storms of media scrutiny. She has been in the public eye for 25 years and endured countless controversies, from Whitewater to Lewinsky to Benghazi. The book has been thrown at her, and the book lost.
This argument overlooks two important factors: First, the national media have never been more primed to take down Hillary Clinton (and, by the same token, elevate a Republican candidate). Even before she announced her presidential bid, The New York Times alone had publishedmore than 40 articles related to her private email account, spurring other stories across the national print, digital and television media. Since announcing her bid, the national media have spent the bulk of their time investigating potential lines of influence between Clinton Foundation donations/speaking fees and Clinton's actions as secretary of state. The Times, The Washington Post and others even struck deals for early access to anti-Clinton research.
Pardon me here, Dylan. Politico is national media. Is that an admission of guilt? I think it is. And while we're on the topic of inevitability -- which is absolutely not the case -- how inevitable is it that national media would cozy up to Koch minions to "take her down?"
Who does "taking Hillary Clinton down" serve? Not the public. But it is good to understand the agenda.
Second, the media environment is radically different from the 1990s or even the 2000s. The power and volume of social media means that controversies can be both disseminated and elevated to unprecedented levels. In today's media environment, nothing with even a whiff of gunpowder comes across the transom without blowing up, because blowing stuff up is what the media do. Or, as Daniel Henninger notes in today's Wall Street Journal, the "electronic elements have reached critical mass ... [and] the new political media that will drive the 2016 presidential contest are like the surface of the oceans — huge, always moving, unpredictable and potentially destructive."
You like the way Byers completely exempts Politico from that indictment? Blowing stuff up is what Politico likes to do, alongside their pals at Fox News, CNN, and of course the hack sites like Breitbart News and The Daily Caller.
If Dylan Byers wants to finger-point at the media, he should start with his own organization.