How New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk

Burying the Militarist Narrative

Mike Mullen, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates
Mike Mullen, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates Photo credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

Following a rough night in five East coast primaries, Bernie Sanders’s path to the Democratic nomination is now more narrow and steep than it has ever been. But are these votes truly a referendum on who voters think the best candidate is — or are they merely a reflection of what the corporate media wants Democrats to think?

In our critique of the media, we tend to focus on The New York Times, because it purports to be the gold standard for journalism, and because others look to the paper for coverage guidance. But the same critique could be applied to The Washington Post, Politico, CNN, and most other leading outfits.

In prior articles, we noted how the Times helped Clinton walk away with most of the African-American vote — and therefore victory in many states — by essentially hiding Sanders’s comparably far more impressive record on civil rights.

We also noted how it seemed that every little thing the Clinton camp did right was billboarded, while significant victories against great odds by Sanders were minimized.

These are truly the kinds of decisions that determine the “conventional wisdom,” which in turn so often determines outcomes.

But there is more — and it is even more disturbing. Clinton’s principal reason to claim she is so qualified to be president — aside from being First Lady and senator — is her four years as Secretary of State.

What kind of a legacy did she leave? Perhaps her principal role was to push for military engagement — more soldiers in existing conflicts, and new wars altogether. WhoWhatWhy has written about these wars and their dubious basis.

Wars are good business for Wall Street, for corporations in general, and for others who have been friendly to her and her campaign.

Why was this never a bigger issue? Why was this not front and center with New York voters, a traditionally liberal group with a strong antipathy toward war and militarism? Certainly Sanders tried to bring up this issue, and doesn’t seem to have succeeded. But mostly, this was a failure of the media, whose job it is to shine a strong spotlight.

And why did The New York Times wait until two days  after the New York primary to publish its biggest piece on this, when it could no longer influence that key contest? (It appeared first on its website and later in its Sunday magazine.)

In fact, with the media declaring this probably now a Clinton-Trump race, highlighting her hawkishness turns it from a handicap to a strength. How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk was the digital equivalent of a huge front-page story.

What the article makes clear — shockingly clear — is that Hillary Clinton is the most militaristic of any of the presidential candidates, even more  than Ted Cruz.

Was this delay in publication just a case of poor scheduling? Was it to ensure that the paper could not to be accused of influencing the primary outcome?

The Times’s editorials had already gotten behind her candidacy (without mentioning her refusal to release transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches, or her opposition to a paltry $15 an hour minimum wage). Would running Mark Landler’s critical piece when it mattered have  seemed like an implicit rebuke of the paper’s own editorial board or interfered with its influence?

How ironic it is that “liberal” Hillary Clinton has never met a war she did not like, and has never been held responsible for the chaos they caused and the policies she advocated — yet it is Bernie Sanders whose policies are being described as “unrealistic” by the same people who are shielding Clinton from criticism.

What is the purpose of journalism if not to introduce material when it is relevant — and can have an impact? And one that is good for humanity — as opposed to the arms industry.

The Times, Judith Miller et al, have certainly had an impact. Go here for one of WhoWhatWhy’s stories of some of the goriest details.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from New York Times building (Stephanie Kraus / Flickr – CC BY 2.0)

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9 responses to “How New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk”

  1. Diane says:

    ………………”But are these votes truly a referendum on who voters think the best candidate is…”

    Well, let’s see: 3 million more voters havevoted for Clinton than have for Sanders. Pretty clear evidence on who the voters think is the best candidate, don’t ya think?

  2. (Comment by reader @LyndaAnneArt) *tried to help – but we saw through it! Hillary Warhawk isn’t her knick name for nothing.

  3. goingnowherefast says:

    The Establishment Press ownership has pretty much always been imperialist in nature, but at least when there was serious competition among many owners it was possible to get some disagreement over policy and whether or not invasions of other sovereign countries was a good idea.

    With media having been consolidated into just 6 corporations owning the whole lot , there is little if any diversion from the dominant narrative disseminated from the State Dept. They are now part of the ruling oligarchy so it is in their interest not to rock the boat.

  4. ProgressiveDog says:

    There are only two conclusions I can draw about Clinton supporters. Either they’re completely unaware of her record or they just don’t care. Take your pick. Both are pretty scary.

  5. hates_advertisers says:

    Great article Russ. And great that you’re publicly recognized by the CJR once again. Only a pessimist would ever think that Columbia would ignore you for a fault of yours. If their praise was too faint, it still is not damning. It is just the right level of reporting about Russ Baker, by the Columbia Journalism Review.

    I would just “+1” this, like it, heart it, bookmark, or post it to Reddit, HOWEVER, I hate advertisers and people who track me, so I have to post my gratitude like this instead. By words. In an anonymous post.

    Separately, I wanted to say that I appreciated one of Milicent’s picks last week, from YouTube,
    called “1950s Advertising Propaganda”.[1] They say if a man gets old enough, eventually he sees everything. That’s true, or so I’m told. But the point I would actually want to make here is that there’s a lot of truth in that old “propaganda” video. It’s not as black and white as either side makes out. In a raw sort of economic sense, one could say that the things we hate about our own vastly “successful” technological and social order have only been successful because of the things we now hate. If we really wanted to exorcise spies and advertisers from our viewports, well, we would actually lose our viewports, since our economic system is arranged such that we always get exactly what we pay for, and trade for when we put up debt. Or so I’m told.

    In the last analysis, people need to start donating a lot more money to W-W-W dot org, so that Russ’s legitimate business operation can proceed with as little shadow (advertising?) revenue as possible. If W-W-W isn’t directly funded by traditional advertisers, then someone else still is getting funding at some level of the tech stack when people use this site for free. Maybe it’s Disqus, maybe it’s ChartBeat, maybe it’s the FB/Twitter/Google-style mass data whores who just want to record one more little data point in the infinity of data points they have on citizens of western-style administrative districts. So they can sell cheap persistent individually targetted advertisments to you wherever else you ever go on the internet. Understand this, everyone: every single place that W-W-W doesn’t pay for its web platform (wordpress-style content management, plus whatever hosting, etc etc), there is someone providing some part of that platform for them, and they are either making money off in the shadows from it, or they are doing it as a volunteer.

    [1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkHlrDAf3kM

  6. VoxFox says:

    Big media editors, publishers, etc. are simply sociopathic careerists: they are smart enough to invent plausible excuses to hide their own real motives (from themselves), which are just “looking after #1” – like all the rich people who run America.
    No one should pay any attention to these shills of the rich.

  7. bill mcwilliams says:

    Hillary’s ability to influence people to vote against their economic interest is impressive.