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Return of the Heathers

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Is it possible — just possible, mind you — that print media circulation numbers for major newspapers are down because they are trying to compete a little too much in the tabloid market (complete with half-assed pictures, instead of the truly leering and juicy ones like "Satan Emerges from Oil Well" or "Brangelina Baby Pics!!!" or whatever it is that the flavor-of-the-month crowd has decreed fit for print).  (See here, here, and here for stories on declining circulation issues.)

Maybe what the world of readers is longing for is some real news.  You know, in depth coverage and analysis of the issues of our times — the crises we face, and their impact on our daily lives.

Instead, we get the Return of the Heathers:

I do not know if Hillary is running for president and I’m not making a case for her candidacy. I do, however, think she has the right to try to earn the nomination without this gossip-at-the-hair salon coverage by the NY Times. And believe me, it won’t just be her. Look at the spooky picture of Mark Warner on the cover of New York Times Magazine. He looked like something out of a David Lynch movie. I have no doubt that we are going to be reading many derisive accounts of Al Gore the bearded, earth toned circus freak. It’s quite clear that if the Democrats are are coming into power, the Times is going to pick up right where it left off when it was last obsessed with Clinton’s crotch and Hillary’s cold, cold heart. Or perhaps, more to the point, this piece is just a first notice that they plan to.

Democrats be advised: the press is a bunch of braindead robots who are uninterested in changing their puerile Democratic storyline even in the face of the most disasterous administration in American history.It’s shocking. You can love Hillary or hate her, I don’t care. But goddamit the intimate state of her marriage to Bill Clinton is nobody’s business and it NEVER HAS BEEN. If the gossip rags want to play this game, there’s nothing anyone can do. But it is just shameful that the New York Times would go back to their cheap, tabloid coverage of politics when the world is on fire. I’m honestly stunned that this is happening again.

I am writing letters to the editor about this and I urge everyone else to do it too. Perhaps we can request that they put other politicians’ marriages under this kind of scrutiny. John McCain’s wife had some problems if I recall. How’s she doing with that? Maybe a reporter should go around and ask all of her friends to comment off the record. The presidency is a very stressfull job for a first lady. Can she take the pressure without resorting to … well, you know. People are asking. It’s a factor. And hey, what about Rudy? He’s got a helluva marital track record….

I agree with Digby. Pushback on this is warranted — this sort of "paint the Democrats into a smear corner, while we ignore the pecadillos on the Right" malarky has got to stop. 

Personally, I’d prefer to never know about some prediliction for toe sucking or intern chasing or drag queen regalia in the bedroom or kicking one’s spouse and kids out of the Mayor’s mansion so your mistress can live there or whatever sport of the moment exists among consenting adults in the political classes and the punditocracy.  But if the media has decided to sling some mud to pre-form a fabricated narrative for the public around one potential Presidential candidate, then they should all get the full-on, tabloid treatment. 

Or none at all.

Take a few moments today and let the NYTimes know how you feel about their foray into Page Six territory — on Page One, no less. 

I, for one, breathlessly await their sequel:  wherein Bill and Hil’s BFF talk about their greatest lovemaking stories or, better yet, "Bill and Hil Talk Kama Sutra Techniques with Elizabeth Bumiller."  (That was nauseating even for my strong stomach.  Blergh.)

You’ll excuse me now, I have to go read the latest on "TomKat Steals Brangelina’s Nanny, Part V."  Whew!  It’s a scorcher!

(And on the heels of the Hartford Courant story that I featured last night, reading this tripe just makes it all the more appalling, doesn’t it?)

PS — We are still doing some tweaking of the site programming.  Please be patient as we work out a few hiccups.  Thanks!

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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