Hillary Clinton is slipping in the polls and at the mercy of her growing email scandal. Fortunately for her, the Clintons’ ever-loyal squadron of flying monkeys is spoiling to fight anyone who dares to criticize her. Politico last week revealed that David Brock has written a book attacking the New York Times for (can you believe it?) its unfair coverage of the Clintons.
The formerly scurrilous right-wing journalist turned presently scurrilous captain of Media Matters and the Clintonite rapid-response group Correct the Record isn’t pulling any punches. According to Brock, there’s “a special place in hell” for the Times. While The Scrapbook wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a monument to Walter Duranty somewhere in Abaddon, everything Brock says is suspect. According to Brock, Carolyn Ryan—who recently stepped down as the paper’s Washington bureau chief—transformed the Times into a “megaphone for conservative propaganda.”
We’re still trying to work the stitch out of our sides from laughing at that one. After all, this is the same paper that endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008. Still, the reason Brock is busy working the refs is that the tactic works for liberal politicians. And they know it. The day after Politico noted Brock’s forthcoming book, the Times’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, ran her second column in two days pondering whether the Times had covered Bernie Sanders’s campaign fairly. Sullivan quoted Ryan as saying that “one of the strategies of Sanders supporters is to relentlessly agitate for more favorable coverage from The Times.” And why wouldn’t they? They’re just following the lead of the Hillary campaign. Call it coincidence, but Brock’s prime target, Carolyn Ryan, is no longer the paper’s bureau chief.
Of course, the paper denies Brock’s crusade had any effect and points out that Ryan is still editing political coverage at the paper. We also have to give the Times credit for responding to Brock with well--deserved contempt: “David Brock is an opportunist and a partisan who specializes in personal attacks,” a Times spokesman told Politico. It must sting a bit that Brock claims he’s done interviews with current Times employees who share his concern that the paper has been too hard on Clinton. There’s generally no reason to believe Brock when it comes to the Clintons—especially unnamed sources saying such things as “[Ryan] has a hard-on for Hillary,” and “she wants that coonskin nailed to the wall.” Coonskin? Who at the New York Times talks like this?
Then again, it’s hardly unthinkable that employees at the paper would be unhappy that the Times has, from time to time, engaged in aggressive coverage of Clinton. A spokesman for Brock’s publisher told Politico he’d spoken to a “handful of people in [the Times’s] New York and Washington newsrooms” to confirm Brock’s accusations. Meanwhile, even Politico is treading carefully now that Brock is threatening to say nasty things about liberal media organs that are insufficiently supportive of Queen Hillary.
“Clinton’s use of a private email account—which may have been used to receive classified emails—prompted a Department of Justice investigation and raised new questions about her candor, transparency and trustworthiness,” notes Politico in its report on Brock. May have been? At this point, what credible media organization is casting doubt on whether Clinton’s private email was full of classified information?
We know hell’s a crowded place these days, but by seriously indulging the grievances of a hack such as Brock, Politico is angling for its own prime piece of stygian real estate.