Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Distortions and Falsehoods of The New York Times

Original Link:

About Hillary Clinton in the conduct of her campaign, The New York Times wrote in a thing they call their "political memo" that Hillary
made comments that divided voters along racial lines, stretched the facts and last month raised the specter of assassination as a justification for remaining in the race to the bitter end despite a mathematical near-certainty that she had lost weeks earlier.
Every one of these statements is false or misleading. First, voters are divided along racial lines. Clinton didn't divide them. The implication here is that Clinton engaged in racial politics. The facts clearly show that it was the Obama campaign that played the race card in the primary not the Clinton campaign. This is arguably the worst trick played on Americans by the Obama campaign and the corporate media establishment this election cycle.

Second, I assume the "fact stretching" claim is in reference to the Bosnia story. But the 1996 Bosnia retelling isn't an instance of exaggeration, but rather of confabulation. Clinton was incorporating into her story the harrowing tale of Katarina Mandic's flight from Sarajevo. Mandic, a justice on the Bosnian Constitutional Court, flew to Tuzla to meet with Clinton and told her audience what had happened on the flight over. Mandic told them there were "snipers on every corner." The retelling was very dramatic: "On every corner we would find dead bodies," said Mandic. Sarajevo "is the largest graveyard in the world." Hillary herself, in helicopter hops between the main US base and outposts saw the effects of the war. Almost every house she flew over had either no roof or lay in rubble, and fields everywhere were stripped down to the soil. Given these images and Mandic's gripping story of sniper fire, the source of Clinton's misremembering becomes quite obvious. Anybody who has studied the way memory works in the human brain, and who doesn't have an ax to grind, will identity this as a case of confabulation not exaggeration.

Third, Hillary did not raise the specter of assassination. The Obama campaign took a statement she made out of context and condemned her for it. It was the Obama campaign that raised the specter of assassination. The facts are clear: Hillary was answering a question about why she stays in the race, and she repeated something she had been saying since March - that's right, as early as March people were trying to force her out of the race - that her husband's primary and the 1968 primary both lasted into June. These are memorable to Clinton because the 1992 campaign was her husband's campaign, which ended in California, and the 1968 campaign had the very dramatic image of Bobby Kennedy assassinated in California. The wrenching of Hillary's answer from its context was played against the sexist Obama campaign and corporate media establishment theme of Hillary the evil bitch who would do anything to be elected.

Fourth, a Clinton victory has never been a mathematically near-certain defeat. Clinton won more popular votes than Obama in the Democratic primary. Leaving to one side the popular vote in caucus states that have not released vote totals, Clinton won 17,822,145 votes versus Obama's 17,535,458. That is more than a quarter of a million more votes. Adding in estimates of the caucus vote and she won more than 18 million votes, while Obama fell well short of 18 million by the same reckoning. To win the nomination on pledged delegates, one candidate has to win 2,118 of the 3434 pledged delegates at stake (the rule making body of the DNC lowered the bar). Hillary trailed Obama by a little more than 100 delegates and neither won enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. Indeed, Obama fell 376 pledged delegates short of the number needed to secure his party's nomination, and this was despite the facts that Obama won more delegates in a state he lost (Texas), the party's rule-making body transferred delegates won by Clinton to Obama, gave delegates to Obama based on uncommitted votes (votes for neither candidate), and slashed by half the number of delegates from two large states Clinton won by large margins. This means that Obama required hundreds of automatic delegates (376, to be exact) - who should have based their decision on the fact that Clinton is more accomplished, experienced, and electable than Obama, the popular vote totals, and correcting the distortions created by the caucus system and the party's rulemaking body - to cast their vote for Obama. It is therefore grossly misleading to assert that Obama, who lost the popular vote, who fell far short of the pledged delegates needed to claim the nomination, and who required the help of superdelegates and party elites to put him over the top, as well as hold Hillary back was the mathematically near-certain nominee.

This article (read the entire thing here: Campaign Adds to Complicated Clinton Legacy is exhibit A in the way the establishment media strives to tear down the Clintons. Affluent liberals loath this man and woman with a vengeance. I have lots of theories why this is the case, but the primary reasons are these:

(a) Sexism - The profound hatred of intelligent women makes Hillary, the archetype of the intelligent female, the sacra in a public ritual of sublimated misogyny. The soul of a woman was created below - women are not to be trusted - and Eve could not be more manifest in the flesh than the image of Clinton in the collective sexist mind.

(b) Elitism - The profound hatred of the "average," "ordinary," "lunch-pail," "blue-collar" American - that is, the rural and working class men and women of the United States - leads them to despise a couple who is adored by rural working class men and women. These stupid people are supposed to be confused by their racism and xenophobia. How can they support the two most famous liberals? Oh, but wait, the Clintons can't be liberals, the backwards logic runs, because they are adored by these bitter people who cling to guns and religion. Liberals are those left-wing identity political types. You know, the sophisticated types who support Barack Obama. (And people really wonder why the Republicans do so well in national elections?)

(c) Opposition to progressivism - The Clintons popularity among the stupid masses means that they have the popular support to implement the progressive reforms that corporate America opposes. Both major political parties and the media establishment are owned and controlled by corporate America. Corporate America destroyed the attempt by the Clintons to reach universal health care during Clinton's presidency. They can't depend on their propaganda to work again. The Harry and Louise ad campaign corporate America used to help stop health care reform under Clinton was dusted off and used by the Obama campaign to little effect. The masses wise up from time to time. So corporate America made sure Hillary Clinton got nowhere near the White House.

Why is it so vital that The New York Times frame the story in this way? As Chomsky has pointed out, The New York Times shapes history because historians and journalists go to the archives of the nation's (arguably the world's) newspaper to verify their memories, corroborate, and legitimate their accounts. The NYTimes is especially important in this regard since they endorsed Hillary Clinton.

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