September 23, 2013

Can a white guy appreciate this woman and her potential? (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)

First in a massive series on the media’s treatment of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A panel on MSNBC this morning dug into the extensive New York Magazine story on Hillary Rodham Clinton, with a focus on her likelihood as a presidential candidate in 2016. Guest host Mara Schiavocampo cited a quote from a source in the story saying that Clinton’s march to presidential contention is “like a force of history.”

When given a chance to opine on that matter, MSNBC.com’s Timothy Noah sought cold water, calling “overwrought” the “idea that she is being buffeted by the winds of history.” The process, argued Noah, is a touch simpler than all that: “If she runs, it’s because she wants to be president of the United States,” he argued.

Race and gender then penetrated the conversation, courtesy of panelist Keli Goff, of the Root. Here’s how she disputed Noah’s disputation of the whole history-mission thing:

I don’t entirely agree with that. I did a piece for the Root titled, “Could Hillary Clinton run as a one-term president.” And I interviewed a bunch of strategists. And initially when the piece ran, there were people very skeptical. Then she had her health woes and then people weren’t so skeptical after that. I think that Tim, with all due respect, as a white male perhaps it’s a little different to appreciate for some women and for some people of color what it means to have a historic figure that can make history. And there is no one else on the bench right now. There is no one else on the progressive female side of things who can actually break the glass ceiling the way Hillary possibly could. At 65 with health woes, she may not have eight years in her. She might have four, and I think a lot of feminists are going to pressure her to keep that in mind.

Full disclosure: The Erik Wemple Blog is a white male, rendering us incapable of judging whether Goff’s judgment that white male Timothy Noah’s pooh-poohing of the Hillary-Clinton force-of-history theme is overwrought or not. Just no way to do that while at the same time being a white male.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.