Sunday, February 10

Shuster is the bullet, not the target

With her conflict against MSNBC, Hillary Clinton has revealed one of her central campaign strategies against John McCain, should she get the Democratic nomination. She is attacking McCain's biggest strength, which is his reputation as a truth-tellin' straight-shootin' honest politician.

She's not yet going after McCain's reputation for honesty directly. That will come later. She is starting out by weakening McCain's protective flank: She is undermining the credibility of the media that are forever swooning about McCain's supposedly unimpeachable honesty and forthrightness.

Assailing McCain's honesty is vital strategy. Doing it indirectly, by further weakening voters' trust in the media, is a clever tactic.

The Clinton campaign is deploying David Shuster as a long-range weapon, not as a target. Many in the media fail to understand this, as in this obtuse analysis by ABC's Jake Tapper, who guesses that Clinton "is capitalizing on an ugly moment to galvanize female voters." Sure, there might be an element of trying to stoke the ire of female voters (if you assume, as Tapper does, that only women, and not men, object when accomplished young women are smeared as whores), but the Clinton campaign is hunting for bigger game. They want to persuade voters to distrust the media that instruct them to trust John McCain.

Here's a comment accompanying the Tapper analysis, from a reader who says the media have writing about Clinton with "black colored goggles":

While not many, if any, of the Media's narrative "'points" resemble factual reality, the novelization of the political landscape continues apace. This novelization has burgeoned into an unsupportable, unreadable, and unviewable fictionalization of campaign and the candidates.

It is and has been for months outright well-poisoning. The media's fictionalizing is not just a disservice to the country but an outright betrayal of the public trust.

When I turn on the news I want the NEWS, the FACTS. I don't want a narrative, I don't want to hear what you think would be fun or interesting IF it were what was happening. I want narrative, I'll read a book or watch a movie.
This is conclusion that the Clinton campaign wants voters to make. This isn't about David Shuster or the locker-room atmosphere on MSNBC. This is about convincing voters, especially non-conservatives, that they can't trust the media. Expect the Clinton campaign to push further. They will get us to ask: When will Rush Limbaugh call 16-year-old Bridget McCain a dog? When will someone on MSNBC call Bridget McCain a whore who is being pimped by her parents? Because the media obviously have a double standard, can you trust reporters when they portray McCain as being unfailingly honest and forever frank?