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Pre-White House Correspondents' Dinner reception, 2014. How much lower can the profession sink? Photo credit: Wikicommons
Since 2015, the mainstream media has relentlessly pitted Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. This dynamic, established before the Democrat and Republic primaries, helped boost them as front runners and led, inestibaly, to their hideous face off in the general election. Almost a year after Clinton lost to Donald Trump when nearly every poll, pundit, and journalist assumed otherwise, the political opposition to Trump is still widely framed in terms of Clinton versus Trump.
On October 16, Trump used Clinton as a tool to continue criticizing NFL Protests, and he urged Clinton to run again in 2020. He also called the Russia election interference narrative an excuse — accurately — for Clinton losing in 2016.
Clinton has still been making her own headlines while on a tour for her memoir on the 2016 election, What Happened. In a recent interview she pushed back on the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and her ties to him as a wealthy campaign donor by comparing him to Trump, and she minimized the various allegations of harassment against Bill Clinton over the past decades. Rumors continue to swirl about her future plans, from the most recent talks that she will take on a professor role at Columbia University to speculation she is setting herself up for another, God Help Us All, run at political office.
Shortly after the 2016 election, Chelsea Clinton was foisted on a sickened public with speculation she would run for office. Her Twitter account became a signal to several journalists in media to use the tweets as a frame for their reporting. Every time she spoke out against Trump, it re-energized his support base.
The Hill published 70 articles based on Chelsea’s tweets in the first three months of 2017. In fact, the New York Times, Washington Post and several other outlets published profiles of her Twitter account. The scheme sizzled by April, but shoving Chelsea into the spotlight provided Hillary Clinton with cover to revamp plans to maintain political influence in the wake of her devastating loss to Trump.
To the great detriment of the Trump #Resistance, Clinton has managed to maintain a presence in the headlines, from the release of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign to her own memoir, What Happened, and her loyalist following embodied by the new media propaganda outlet, Verrit, run by a former 2008 Clinton staffer and obscure jazz musician, Peter Daou. The only people standing to benefit from the mainstream media’s marketing campaign for Hillary are Trump and Republicans, as Clinton is a clear signal to voters how far from reality the mainstream media and Democratic Party remains.
Clinton’s constant media presence has stemmed from the various excuses and claims she continues to make over the 2016 election. For the mainstream media elite, the gossip-fueled rhetoric offers a lazy opportunity to rehabilitate their preferred 2016 presidential candidate and try to resuscitate centrism from the abyss.
The neoliberal worldview took a huge blow by losing to Trump. The mainstream media has been more than happy to pitch in by elevating excuses, conspiracies and theories to deflect responsibility from Hillary and neoliberalism for the loss. Hillary’s favorability ratings have continued on a sharp downward trajectory since she lost the election, not surprisingly as her full slate of post-election appearances have been completely self-serving.
For Trump, she offers an even more unpopular opposing figure to contrast himself with while he gloats from defeating her in the presidential election. Their respective cultist fans may approve of rehashing the 2016 election, but the predominant framing of contemporary politics as Trump vs. Hillary drives political apathy even deeper across the country.
These were two of the most unpopular, disliked presidential candidates in modern history. Clinton has exploited the Democratic establishment’s leadership vacuum to push her own agenda and narrative, while Republicans are more than happy to rely on her unpopularity to maintain their own base of supporters. The mainstream media, complicit in pushing the Clinton campaign’s “pied-piper” strategy in 2015, continues to be more than willing now to provide Hillary with uncritical public relations services.
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