Left cries double standard at press treatment of Clinton

Left cries double standard at press treatment of Clinton
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Liberals are ripping the media’s coverage of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' 10 things we learned from Peter Strzok's congressional testimony Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks MORE’s health scare.

They see a double standard in how Clinton and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE are covered that they believe is keeping Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, in the race.

“This is the day historians will see as the most important day of 2016, because it’s the day the political news media lost its mind,” liberal MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell said Monday night, a day after a wobbly Clinton was filmed receiving help to get into her van.

He then launched into a 16-minute-long diatribe about how a candidate’s health is low on the list of voter concerns.

O’Donnell’s voice was echoed by other liberals.

“There's a near-fanatical attitude amongst the press over anything having to do with Hillary Clinton that most politicians get a pass on,” one Clinton ally told The Hill.

“Some of this is because their bosses are desperate to create a 50-50 race because that drives more clicks, and some are terrified of right-wing accusations of bias. This is where false equivalency comes from, and it's helping to keep Trump in the race.”

Complaints of media bias have come from both campaigns in this year’s nasty race.

The complaints from one side or the other are often linked to polls. When Trump was suffering through a terrible stretch in his campaign in August, accusations that the media were stacking the deck against him came up.

Now that Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is going through a crisis — besides the health issue, she is under criticism for saying half of Trump’s supports belong in a “basket of deplorables” — new complaints are coming from the left.

Democrats have long believed that the media hold a presumption of corruption around the Clintons and that news outlets are on an endless hunt to take down the nation’s most powerful political family.

Many Democrats believe the media is overplaying Clinton’s controversies and underselling Trump’s scandals in an effort to create the appearance of balance — a so-called false equivalency.

With the election only 56 days away, there is a renewed sense of urgency among liberal pundits to influence coverage of a race they fear is slipping away. 

Some are leaning on their peers in the nonpartisan press to make the case that reporters have a responsibility to drop the false equivalency and cover the GOP nominee as a danger to the nation.

“Journalists who are the targets of this criticism have responded with reflexive defensiveness of the work they’ve done … but have largely ignored the central critique,” The New Republic’s Brian Beutler wrote on Tuesday. “Is it possible that political journalists will pave the way to a Trump presidency by underplaying the risks he poses to American democracy?”

O’Donnell argued that as the media has covered Clinton’s health, it has completely ignored a declaration Trump made at a rally that he would blow an Iranian war ship out of the water if the Iranians made inappropriate gestures at U.S. soldiers, effectively starting World War III.

Liberal writer Matthew Yglesias at Vox on Monday ticked through the ways he said an interview Trump conducted with CNBC should have overtaken coverage about Clinton’s health.

In that interview, Trump mocked claims by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters MORE (D-Mass.) about her heritage, warned that the U.S. stock market is a house of cards, accused Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen of a conspiracy aimed at damaging the next president, and appeared not to understand the relationship between interest rates and investments.

“Half the crazy things Trump says or does barely merit a mention on Twitter, much less the front-page coverage they would have merited in previous campaigns,” Yglesias said.

And some see sexism in how Clinton’s health has been covered, arguing that Trump is older, eats a lot of junk food, and has only released an over-the-top note praising his perfect health from a doctor of questionable standing.

“Can’t a girl have a sick day or two?” reporter Christiane Amanpour lamented Monday on CNN. “Don’t get me started, because when it comes to overqualified women having to try 100 times harder than under-qualified men to get a break, well, we know that story.”

The Clinton campaign has seized on the argument that there is a media double standard in pushing back against questions about its handling of Clinton’s illness.

“I hope you drill into [Trump’s health disclosures] with the same detail as you’re drilling in with ours,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday under tough questioning from MSNBC anchor Kate Snow about Clinton’s health. 

Liz Spayd, the public editor at The New York Times, where coverage of ties between Clinton’s State Department and her charitable foundation has attracted criticism from liberals, is dismissing complaints about a false equivalency.

“If you fear a Trump presidency, it’s tempting to want the media’s firepower heavily trained on one side,” Spayd wrote. “But a false-balance cudgel gripped mostly by liberals is not an effective way to convince undecided voters. Just more preaching to the choir.”

The Clinton campaign will get no sympathy from conservatives, who have long held that the media is biased against them.

Republicans believe that many in the press have dropped any veneer of impartiality in covering Trump and are bent on stopping him because they see him as a racist or a danger to the nation’s safety. 

And even some liberals will acknowledge that Clinton and her allies are at least partly to blame for the air of suspicion that surrounds her.

Last week, the campaign sought to shame journalists for reporting on Clinton’s coughing fit at a campaign event, which turned out to be a legitimate story.

And after Clinton left the 9/11 memorial ceremony early on Sunday and video emerged of her becoming wobbly on the street, it took 90 minutes for the campaign to release a statement saying she had “overheated” and retreated to daughter Chelsea Clinton’s apartment.

Several hours later, the campaign finally released a statement saying Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia days before.

Liberal writer Paul Waldman at The American Spectator described the dynamics as “born of a long dysfunctional relationship with the press that produces a vicious cycle.”

“[The media] treat every new piece of information about her as shocking and sinister, then in response she tries to keep as much information private as possible,” Waldman wrote.