Hillary Clinton Is Running for President. Have You Heard? By Theresa Rebeck

I have big news for the American media today:


I think we should all take time out of our busy lives and mention this to them. Somehow they seem to think that the story on Hillary is something having to do with her relationship to the press. She doesn't talk to them enough, or in the right way. She's not nice enough! She doesn't have enough press conferences!

Now she's changing her airplane so that they can ride along with her and get to know her a little better. Apparently our Hillary has been flying around in little bitty airplanes for a while, not because she needs privacy or time to think and work on her zillions of ideas about how to be a great president. Apparently the actual reason she's been flying around on those little planes is because she is not inviting enough to the press, who should be flying with her. They need to get to know her better.

When I heard that, I thought what a bunch of babies. I also thought: Don't they know her yet? She's not exactly a shrinking violet.

But no! They do NOT know her well enough because she is not nice enough to them. She hides things. This goes all the way back to the Whitewater days, when she didn't want to hand over a bunch of docs about something or other and it pissed the radical right off. Truth be told, they were already pissed. They were on the attack before she even mentioned the fact that she didn't think she was any good at baking cookies, and they kept attacking and William Safire called her a liar and there you have it. A 25 year long game of telephone which had to be reported upon endlessly. Any bad thing that ever got said about the Clintons was news, whether it bore even a resemblance to a factual reality. The meaner the better. And now we have historic negatives, and an orange man who keeps calling people names. That's the story.

Here is another story:

Hillary Clinton is going to be the first female president. She's set to clean up the astonishing dysfunction created by a Republican congress who have tried to bring down the American government with historic levels of inaction. She already has plans for reforming the pharmaceutical industry which once again got caught trying to gouge people for life-saving meds. She has plans to straighten out the university system, so that our children can actually get an education without incurring crippling levels of debt. She's committed to making America a global leader in reversing the effects of climate change and developing renewable clean energy.

The entire planet needs her. We need her. Our children need her.

And yet, the press keeps dinging her about those emails and telling her she needs to be a little nicer to them. David Brooks in the New York Times even told her—on the op ed page, of the Times!—that if she were a little more gracious, the press might be more willing to help her. My FaceBook feed exploded over that one. The general feeling was: You want her to be NICER to YOU? Shouldn't you guys be NICER to HER?

And that, ultimately is a question that keeps bouncing around the edges of this situation.

Who's in charge here? We elect our government officials and god knows once that's done, it's hard to replace them. But who elects the press? We couldn't get rid of Roger Ailes for the longest time; he had to do that to himself. But when people we know nothing about start showing up and snarling about things that they seem to know nothing about, why is that privileged speech? And again, why so little attention to facts? Why are all these people I've never heard of talking about everything except the fact that this sensational candidate is running a sensational campaign and really talking about the ways to help people in the ways that people want to be helped?

There are a few voices out there, in the press, calling cautiously for more even-handed coverage. God bless Jill Abramson for informing us all that Hillary is "fundamentally honest." A few other news outlets occasionally point out that what she says is true. I am really grateful for those moments and those writers.

The great American journalist George Seldes urged his fellow practitioners to do their job. I'm with George. Tell the truth and run!

That great American paranoid Philip K. Dick also pointed out that "reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Hillary is real, and she's not going away. That is the best news out there.


September 6, 2016

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