September 25, 2013


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

Recent days have seen some thoroughly reported work on Clintonland — a profile in New York Magazine featuring the first big post-State Department interview for the former secretary and a deep story in the New Republic about Doug Band, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton whose work could complicate the political future of Hillary Rodham Clinton. And in the midst of the big takeouts, there’s a lot of cable chatter.

Today’s “Morning Joe” featured a dose of the latter in all its un-glory. Responding to a question about whether tea party opposition to Democrats might subside a bit if Hillary Clinton jumped into the presidential race, “Morning Joe” panelist Cokie Roberts proclaimed, “I also think — and just calling it — that some of this tea party anger is racist and that having a non-black person on the ticket will defuse it to some degree.”

Host Joe Scarborough took issue, citing all the “awful things” that he and fellow then-Republicans said about President Bill Clinton in the ’90s. “There is nothing I’ve heard said about Barack Obama that we didn’t take 10 degrees further,” said the host.

And just to keep this Hillary Clinton story addled with throwaway platitudes, Scarborough explored the dynamics of presidential ambition: “There’s something that happens between that stage where Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton, not running for president, very likable — and the second she starts to take that step over, she looks calculated, looks stiff, looks Machiavellian. It’s just like a light switch goes on.”

Previously in this series:

No. 1: Commentator on MSNBC: White guy can’t ‘appreciate’ Hillary Clinton’s historic-ness

No. 2: Hillary Clinton Profile Whitewashes Benghazi.

No. 3: Clintonland “locked down,” Alec MacGillis says.

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