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Gossip, Innuendo and Speculation, Oh My!

August 17, 2009

5aa69570f5df71e99a4c0dfc41c8378aI try to ignore a lot of the gossipy, non-substantive media commentary about Secretary Clinton because I understand that there are people out there who no matter what she does, are going to criticize and personally attack her for it and to take on each and every one of these media/pundit people would a) be a full-time job and b) be a bit like tilting at windmills. I also realize that some of these folks write provocative articles for the sole purpose of getting people riled up in order to get attention and to constantly respond is to kind of feed the beast if you know what I mean.

That said, I came across this commentary over at Huffington Post and I just couldn’t help myself- I had to respond in the comment section over there and I’m going to post about it over here in a longer version because, quite frankly, I have to vent.

The commentary was written by someone named Meredith C. Carroll, who I have never heard of before [not that that means anything]- according to her bio on HuffPo she was/is apparently some sort of media executive/producer who has worked in television and movies Anyway, here is an excerpt but definitely go check out the whole thing if you are so inclined:

It’s been a good summer for Bill Clinton. He was roundly praised for his role in the release of two imprisoned American journalists in North Korea; and, if the political rumor mills are worth their salt, the former president will have the pleasure of walking his only child down the aisle when she weds her longtime beau in Martha’s Vineyard later this month.

For Bill’s wife, however, this summer probably won’t go down as her best ever (although it can’t possibly be any worse than last year at this time). In arguably the flashiest international mission since she was sworn in as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton watched in silence as her husband took over her job for 24 well-photographed hours and did his best Superman imitation, saving the day, er, the two journalists. Shortly after that she was given the unenviable task of diplomatically rejecting an offer that her husband ignored nine years ago from a Kenyan who proposed 40 goats and 20 cows in exchange for Chelsea’s hand in marriage.

Last month Hilary pleaded with North Korea to grant amnesty to the journalists to no avail. And of course there were countless reasons why she couldn’t go to North Korea, not the least of which was the Obama administration’s concrete determination that diplomatic capital not be expended on behalf of the jailed reporters. Blah, blah, blah.

[snip]

…No matter what type of industrial-strength cleaner she’s ever used, she can never seem to scrape the poo that is her husband’s shadow from beneath her shoe.

And then North Korea happens, and it’s as if she had worked hard to save money to buy a new car, all the while thoroughly researching which make and model best fit her family’s safety and comfort needs. She applies and qualifies for a loan based on a stellar credit report she made a serious effort to earn…

[snip]

To add insult to injury, a recent poll on MSNBC.com revealed 82 percent of people think Bill has more international clout than Hillary (with 4.6 percent saying she’s the bigger cheese and 13.4 percent saying they’re about equal).

No wonder Hillary’s a little touchy of late on the subject of whether she’s a better diplomat than Bill. If looks could kill, she murdered a reporter last week who a translator mistakenly said asked her what her husband thought about another international situation…

See what I mean? To call it condescending is an under-statement.

Here is more or less the comment I left over on HuffPo in response although this is the longer version because comments over there are limited to a certain number of words and I’m a lawyer and I can’t say anything in less than about 800 words. I know, annoying. Heh.

MY RESPONSE:

Wow, how original- an article about Hillary Clinton based largely on speculation, which insists on focusing on her husband and which purports to channel Hillary’s inner feelings and thoughts without any substantive, first-hand knowledge of either. Congratulations, Ms. Carroll, you’ve just written a commentary worthy of the National Enquirer. Or DickMorris.com

It is such a shame that people like Tina Brown and Meredith Carroll, among many others, insist on focusing on the more gossipy, personal aspects of the work Secretary Clinton is doing as Secretary of State- but hey, I guess that’s easier than reporting on “hard” news, because that takes an understanding of facts as they exist on the ground, it takes research and also, some insight.

For example, Ms. Carroll could have focused on Clinton’s unprecedented trip to the IDP camps in Goma, DRC or she could have mentioned how well-received Secretary Clinton was on her tour of Africa, particularly by the women she met with- both women in government and yes, ordinary women who just wanted to see her, shake her hand or tell her their story. Or she could have focused on Clinton’s meeting with Somalia’s President or her blunt, no-nonsense message to Kenyan lawmakers- btw, does any of this sound familiar Ms. Carroll? Or weren’t you aware of anything other than her so-called “outburst” when asked for her husband/the President’s opinion on China, her comment about the 2000 election and the fact that President Clinton went to North Korea while she was in Africa?

Speaking of which, you state “then N. Korea happens…” as though she was totally caught off guard by the plans to release the journalists and her husbands role in it. You and others act as though Secretary Clinton had no part in President Clinton’s trip to N. Korea even though in order to comply with current federal law (due to sanctions and prohibitions against travel to N. Korea), a lot of arrangements had to be made through the State Department itself- you know, the agency she *heads*. Why do you assume, like so many others, that Hillary Clinton feels overshadowed by her husband? In her subsequent interviews there has been nothing that I have seen to suggest that she feels out-gunned by her husband in the diplomacy department. Thus, I am wondering, what you are basing your following statement on:

“No wonder Hillary’s a little touchy of late on the subject of whether she’s a better diplomat than Bill. If looks could kill, she murdered a reporter last week who a translator mistakenly said asked her what her husband thought about another international situation…”

As the first commenter pointed out, you have your facts wrong on almost all fronts with that statement given it was a college student she was talking to and the question was later ruled NOT to be a translation error. But hey, this commentary was never about facts, so don’t worry about that. I do find it interesting that you interpret her being “touchy” in response to that question, to feeling undermined or overshadowed by her husband as opposed to being a result of traveling through Africa highlighting, among other things, woman’s rights and giving a voice to those women who have been silenced, only to be subjected to a question which privileges the views of two men over her own, despite the fact that as she pointed out, SHE happens to be the Secretary of State.

Is it me? Am I over-reacting?

UPDATE: The Department of Homegirl Security also takes issue with some of the bizarre post-Africa commentary masquerading as journalism- you can check it out here.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. PYW permalink
    August 17, 2009 8:51 pm

    stacy, You’re not overreacting, and your response was right on. This reminds me of when Hillary was sidelined by her shattered elbow and people kept writing that she was being marginalized by Obama without even mentioning her elbow was the obvious reason she didn’t accompany him on his Russia trip.

    This whole “overshadowed by Bill” argument is equally dumb. Of course she knew he was going to North Korea and was involved in all the groundwork. She was just glad to get those young women home. Her annoyance at the questioner in Africa had everything to do with the sexism and condescending nature of the question and nothing to do with her husband. She’s not some child upset that he’s getting all this attention. How insulting.

  2. PYW permalink
    August 17, 2009 8:53 pm

    And I’m not a bit surprised this kind of silly psychobabble appeared on Huffington Post, which was extremely pro-Obama during the primaries.

  3. August 17, 2009 9:01 pm

    I actually agree with some of the commentary in general on HuffPo, probably because I’m quite liberal, but you are right, a lot of the Hillary commentary is biased and a lot of it consists of fluff-pieces. Every once in a while I’ll see a more substantive article- I think I highlighted one during her Africa trip but the commentary was written by an activist who does work in the DRC. I really take issue with these folks in the media who just spit out talking points and nonsense with impunity.

    After I read the Meredith Carroll article I sent a rather curt email to HuffPo asking what, exactly, the requirements were for being a featured blogger on their site because it wasn’t quite clear to me. Heh. I don’t expect a reply, but it made me feel better 😉

  4. August 17, 2009 9:24 pm

    Here’s my take. Arianna (blowhard) Huffington is supremely jealous of Hillary. I believe it may be as simple as Hillary staying with her husband, while Madame Bloviate was not afforded the opportunity to do so with hers. Or perhaps it is the clout that Hillary wields. Huffington’s disdain for Hillary is so abnormal and pronounced that I can think of no other reason than a petty yet torturous (for her) reason that lies deep within her psyche. A fifth grader can pen a piece, entitled, “Why I Hate Hillary” and nothing more, and it would be published in HuffPo.

    Excellent response to that smear piece, btw.

    amy michelle petunia

  5. foofighter permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:25 pm

    You guys are just defensive because you know it’s true- Bill can’t stay out of the spot-light it was just a matter of time before he grabbed it. He’s doing the Haiti thing, he’s rescuing journalists and helping the north koreans with their propanganda- he just can’t stand that his wife is more than just his wife now. We’ll see more of him because his ego is so huge he can’t help himself. Apparently flying around on Ron Burkle’s private plane, Air F*ck One (as its called when he’s on board) isn’t enough for him- he’s gotta be important!

    • NYC Girl permalink
      August 17, 2009 10:33 pm

      “Republicans, begone! You have no power here!”

      *waves wand*

      [Bill-bashing Repubs disappear]

  6. rachel permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:17 pm

    Stacy, you know there are people who just like to hate, its as simple as that. There are also people who just like to try and get to people and half the time they don’t even beleive the stuff they are writing or saying they just know it will get to someone. Hillary’s work speaks for it’s self and once again MSM shows its true colors in reporting.

    On total off topic news I am seriously worried about my state Wisconsin, my mayor got beat up by thugs this weekend my governor decided not to rerun for election and there is a real thug named scott walker who’s going to run on the republican side, what this man did to the city of milwaukee out to be a crime.

  7. PYW permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:32 pm

    foofighter, Why are you even here? This is a pro-Hillary blog, in case you missed the obvious signs. BTW, if Bill wanted to hog the spotlight after the NK trip, he’d be all over the media talking about it, wouldn’t he?

    Also, he was appointed U.N. envoy to Haiti months ago, and there was little media coverage. His work there is nothing new.

  8. Terry permalink
    August 17, 2009 11:04 pm

    I was hoping you would bitch slap that writer somehow. I read the Carroll piece a couple of hours ago and was kind of repelled by it. Another study in snarkiness, so much of that in journalism today. The column was something Tina Brown or Adrianna Huntington or her evil twin Maureen Dowd could have written. Now we can add Meredith Carroll to the group. Their styles are so similar, perhaps we are dealing with one person taking on many disguises. People are getting roundly tired of all the dishing and psychobabble. The Macbeth and his lady scenario should be put away.

    Let’s face it Bill and Hillary Clinton are the most formidable and interesting political couple since Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. Even their enemies will admit that to you. I enjoy reading stories and books about their their individual and combined achievements. Never has so much talent manifested itself in a working marriage. Sure they step on each other sometimes and they both overreach on occassion and they should be criticized when their emotions take the best of them. But they get things done and they light up the room when they enter it, separately or together.

    I think Hillary has now even surpassed her hero, Eleanor in achievements and influence and she is just halfway on her journey.

  9. still4hill permalink
    August 18, 2009 12:33 am

    First, Stacy, thanks for the pingback to DeHoS, but I have to say that my heart is full when I see the ultimate crabbiest girlfriend up there as spokesperson for this piece because articles like this sure bring out the Lucy Van Pelt in me! Any time I get the feeling that this kind of tripe has turned me into The World’s Crabbiest Person, I remind myself that Lucy is crabbier – she and Ann Coutler (with whom I have been unfairly compared – and all Ann really needs is to eat a really big sandwich).

    Speaking of Ann and sandwiches, maybe this is what all of these hungry women need! Like Cassius, like hungry beasts waiting for the sign of weakness in the herd, they set their gaze on Hillary, watch, and send signals to each other and the other lionesses in their pride (such an odd word for a group when they have so little) when they think they see a sign of frailty.

    What IS IT about Hillary’s abilities and successes that they cannot abide? To some extent, I think Petunia hit a nerve in that there are many women who cannot fathom Hillary having stayed with Bill (much less the recent reports that those two are more outwardly romantic than has been seen perhaps ever).

    Bill very much knows what Hillary can do, who she is, and how much more she now knows than he does – he said as much in his interview with Sanjay Gupta on CNN. He went to North Korea with her blessing to bring back two young women close to Chlesea’s age about whom Hillary had long been concerned. Why on earth would she have any negative feelings about that? If the tweets are to be believed (and why not) she boarded Air Force Two (yes, that is its name) that afternoon, having seen Bill off, in a very cheerful mood knowing that THIS crisis would soon be solved. Why should she suddenly become bent out of shape when the outcome was already prescribed before her departure?

    The pride can sometimes become pecky. But Arianna, Maureen, Tina, this new Meredith, among others will never be what Hillary is. She’s the cheetah, the fastest of the cats, the independent one who does not need a pride to make a kill, the one who raises only one or two young, and does it superbly despites the harsh climate and the droughts.

    I guess some lionesses look at the cheetah and envy her abilities. The stealthy pumas, on the other hand, understand the cheetah’s independence and recognize a kindred spirit.

  10. pcfs permalink
    August 18, 2009 8:01 am

    Well now we have a new bird in town, seems Ms. Meredith needs attention so Ms Huffo will use her more. What a sad day that women in this country cannot pull together and support what Hillary has tried to do for women in the world. Is it Jealousy or plain ignorance. Stacy I loved your response to the article, it’s right on. Still4Hill excellent response. History is still being written about Hillary Rodham Clinton, But Ms. Meredith history was 5 seconds of my time for I will never read her “garbage” again.

  11. pcfs permalink
    August 18, 2009 8:06 am

    Foofighter, Your comments are not welcome here nor your rudness. You are so full of hate. Please go to another forum where they will welcome you with open arms.

  12. August 18, 2009 9:06 am

    Well, like I said I was conflicted about even highlighting her article because it essentially gives her attention she doesn’t deserve, but as I said I had 2 vent.

  13. August 18, 2009 10:34 am

    Petunia- I agree re: anybody can pen an article about how they resent a particular politician which is why I emailed huffpo asking what exactly there criteria was for being a blogger over there- I mean did huffpi recruit ms. Carroll specifically to write this commentary about Hillary b/c according to her bio on huffpo this was the 1st and only blog post by her ever! Where the hell do I sign up to write commentaries on huffpo b/c I have something I’d like to say there?!

  14. pcfs permalink
    August 18, 2009 11:05 am

    try this….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    Dr. Andrew Weil… Alec Baldwin… Gavin Newsom…
    If you have something to say…
    Say it on the Huffington Post
    If you have something to say…
    Say it on the Huffington Post

    The Blog
    See all posts »

    BIO
    Arianna Huffington: Your HuffPost Experience Is About to Get A Lot More Social!
    I’m excited to announce the launch of HuffPost Social News — a collaboration with Facebook that connects HuffPost users to their Facebook friends, the news they are reading, and the stories they are commenting on. The explosive growth of online social networking has fundamentally changed our relationship with news. It’s no longer something we passively take in. We now engage with news, react to news, and share news. News has become an important element of community — something around which we gather, connect, and converse. And we can all become part of the evolution of a story now — expanding it with comments and links to relevant information, adding facts and differing points of view. HuffPost Social News makes this easier and more dynamic than ever. It takes social news to a whole new level. Sign up now.

    Read Post | Comments (368)

  15. August 18, 2009 1:07 pm

    pcfs, I’ll check that out, thanks

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