May 25, 2016

Cokie's Law via Digby states:

It comes from the Village maxim, "It doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's out there," which was based upon this quote from Cokie Roberts back in 1999:

"At this point," said Roberts, "it doesn't much matter whether she said it or not because it's become part of the culture. I was at the beauty parlor yesterday and this was all anyone was talking about."

I doubt Donald Trump could tell you what Cokie's Law is, but so far his strategy has been that if he spreads enough lies and conspiracy theories to the press, they will take root in their reality.

Since most of his campaign strategy in the GOP presidential primaries has been to smear his opponents with insults, he's decided to target Bill Clinton, to sustain the level of slime he requires to pump out on a daily basis.

(Check out Jake Tapper's response to Donald for using Vince Foster as an attack line)

Donald also tried to blame her for being an enabler of Bill's behavior too.

Good luck with that.

Most of the media hasn't indulged Donald Trump's use of Bill Clinton's behavior, but it only takes one, and yesterday on MTP Daily, Chuck Todd took the bait when he asked HRC's spokesman Brian Fallon this lame question:

"Do you feel as if Hillary Clinton needs to respond to at least explain why she forgave her husband?"

Like me, many people were dumbfounded by this question, because it validates Trump's use of lies, nonsense and conspiracy theories, in his attempt to discredit his opponents.

Also, this line of questioning was asked and answered many years ago by the media, and Bill Clinton won reelection, in what was an overall lowbrow time for the press in America.

Fallon's response was correct, but Todd didn't let go of Trump's line of questioning.

"Chuck, I think that the country remembers these issues from two decades ago. They recognize these issues as having been litigated and fully aired then."

TODD: So, she doesn't believe (INAUDIBLE)...

FALLON: ... She's written two autobiographies in the years since then. She's given numerous sit-down interviews where she's talked about that, dating back to 2003. She was asked about it by -- in 2000 Senate debates. She's answered that question multi...

TODD: ... Do you feel as if she owes no more explanation, period?

FALLON: Again, I don't think that the public is clamoring for this issue to be re-litigated, that's why I think it's a failed strategy on Donald Trump's part.

But as you can see from Chuck's insistence, Cokie's Law had been activated by the Meet The Press host, and Trump has been rewarded for his despicable behavior.

Let's hope this is an isolated incident.

Here's an article by Howie Kurtz from 1999, that Digby used to illustrate the media's horrendous behavior and included the creation of Cokie's Law:

Did Not! Did Too! Wanna Bet?

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 5, 1999; Page C01

"His mother? His grandmother? . . . They're the ones responsible for Bill Clinton's bad behavior?" say Cokie and Steve Roberts. "Please!"

"Here we have her blaming the mother-in-law, essentially, for her husband's philandering," says Tony Blankley on CNN.

"Hillary Clinton should stop playing Dr. Laura," says "Crossfire" co-host Bill Press.

Hold on! James Carville, the president's pit-bull spinmeister, says the first lady never said what the media are ridiculing her for saying. And Carville is wagering $100,000 that he's right.

He will put classified ads in Sunday's New York Daily News and Washington Post, offering the six-figure sum "to any reporter who can show me that Hillary Clinton linked the president's sexual misconduct with his childhood," Carville said yesterday. The offer came after he consulted with White House strategists and Clinton allies who are increasingly worried about calming the summer squall.

"The press corps are savages," Carville added. "This is the worst bull I've ever seen. People don't know that she never said it... You can't misreport what she said." At worst, said Carville, the first lady "alluded to these two things."

Semantically speaking, Carville has a point. In the Talk magazine interview that triggered this week's uproar, Clinton was speaking about her husband's "sin of weakness" and how he "lied" to "protect" her. She also observed that the president "needs to be more responsible, more disciplined."

In the next paragraph, writer Lucinda Franks said she mentioned having read about Bill Clinton's chaotic childhood in his mother's autobiography. "That's only the half of it," the first lady said. "He was so young, barely four, when he was scarred by abuse that he can't even take it out and look at it. There was terrible conflict between his mother and grandmother. A psychologist once told me that for a boy being in the middle of a conflict between two women is the worst possible situation. There is always the desire to please each one."

That was it. The word "abuse," in that context, fueled a media frenzy. And many journalists aren't buying Carville's she-never-said-it argument.

"I read the article closely--she seems to say that," said ABC's Cokie Roberts, who pens a syndicated column with her husband. "The whole tone and tenor is 'poor baby. He had a rough time, it's remarkable he's turned out as well as he has, he has a weakness.' "

Chris Matthews, host of CNBC's "Hardball," said that "Mrs. Clinton is trying to be candid" and "grapple with something very difficult," but that "the White House big shots bigfooted her and said this psychological explanation is not going to work." He said the White House had gone "back into cover-up mode," a move that was "pushing this story into even higher levels of importance."

"I'm on Hillary's side," said Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox's "O'Reilly Factor" and usually a conservative critic of the Clintons. "I didn't see the article as an attempt to excuse his behavior. . . . She was explaining why she stood by her husband."

Why, then, did O'Reilly begin his Tuesday show by talking about "Hillary Clinton's assertion that her husband's upbringing is responsible for his irresponsible sexual behavior"? "That's just a tease," he said. "Basically, I was headlining what people were talking about."

Back on the Senate campaign trail in New York yesterday, Clinton said the article's message is that "everybody is responsible for their behavior," but declined to discuss the topic further. That did little to quiet the debate, with MSNBC's Linda Vester describing it as "a little post-revelation spin."

Franks said Tuesday on "Larry King Live" that she thinks "it's very clear that Hillary sees her husband's childhood as influencing his behavior." On Fox News Channel yesterday, though, Franks said people are misreading her piece and that the first lady "did not link his abuse to his infidelity."

"But she put it out there for people to chew on," countered anchor Paula Zahn.

Carville, for his part, says he will "name names" of journalists who misreported Clinton's comments and invite them to sue him for the 100 grand. But he may be too late.

"At this point," said Roberts, "it doesn't much matter whether she said it or not because it's become part of the culture. I was at the beauty parlor yesterday and this was all anyone was talking about."

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We are currently migrating to Disqus

On May 14, 2022, we started migrating our comments from Insticator back to Disqus. During this transition period, some posts will have Insticator and some Disqus. For more information on the transition, as well as information regarding old C&L accounts, please see this post.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.