Hillary, Media Conspiracies and Anderson Cooper All Take a Fall

Mid-term Congressional elections are a little over a year away, folks, and you know what that means: Time for another round of “It’s the Media’s Fault!”

One possible race is already generating its share of press, and with it, press criticism: the New York Senate race in which Hillary Clinton is to defend her incumbency. Jeanine Pirro, a Republican prosecutor, has declared her candidacy to challenge Clinton, and by the looks of the ink that the story’s been getting, you’d have thought that Pirro had already won the Republican primary. (Clue: She hasn’t.)

So far, Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester County, has been whacked around pretty good by the New York press, due in part to her husband’s checkered past (an 11-month jail term for fraud, plus an out-of-wedlock child), but also for bumbling her way through a speech after she misplaced a page of the manuscript.

All this has got the aptly named Blogs Against Hillary more than a little peeved. Pirro’s woes are due to the media doing “all that they can to see that Hillary gets through this thing with the least amount of damage,” says the blog. To wit, it points to a Newsmax story from Saturday that shows that “already the press has bombarded its readers with coverage of [Pirro’s] husband’s tax fraud conviction and out-of-wedlock child, with a LexisNexis search turning up 34 reports mentioning both of Mr. Pirro’s transgressions in the same story.”

But wait — the best is yet to come. In a masterful stroke of false equivalence, Newsmax runs another, completely unrelated Nexis search covering all of last year looking for stories that contain the words “Hillary Clinton,” “impeachment,” and “sexual assault.” The results? Are you ready? Somehow, the media managed to go through 2004 without writing a story referencing Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment and also using the words “sexual assault.”

But as the Newsmonger points out, it isn’t the “liberal” New York press that is allegedly going softer on Hillary than it has in the past, but the conservative tabloid, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post. A New York Times column by David Carr notes that “Last Tuesday, after Ms. Pirro made her intentions known, [the Post] published unflattering pictures and skeptical headlines, and reminded readers” of her husband’s indiscretions.

So much for the Great Left-Wing Conspiracy.

Mediabistro’s FishbowlNY picks up on the flap caused last week when CNN’s Anderson Cooper tore into his fellow talking heads over their coverage of the Natalee Holloway disappearance. As Fishbowl writes, “Perhaps fed up over Greta’s rocketing ratings, or perhaps really thinking he could lash out at his peers and not be utterly lambasted for it, Cooper criticized ‘our cable competitors’ for the ‘hours and hours’ they devote to the story, ‘even though, sadly, nothing new is happening.’”

MB then runs down the angry, sarcastic, and mostly spot-on responses to Cooper’s complaints from Fox, Jeff Jarvis and others. It’s good stuff. After all, when the empty, blow-dried suits of cable TV start cutting each other off at the knees over their choice of news stories, everybody wins.

Paul McLeary

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.