hillary’s stolen moment

23Feb08

Lot of people who watched the debate to the end saw something extraordinary. In her closing remarks, Hillary Clinton tapped into something that came from her soul.

I thought she had an uncharacteristically bad debate and at the worst possible time. On the other hand, I thought Obama showed me, for the first time, that he might be made of presidential material.

But her wrap up was such an electric minute or so that I think I was actually holding my breath. It was a stop the world moment, the best single bit of political performance she might have ever given. It resulted in a standing ovation, which, to be truthful, might have been somewhat directed at both candidates, given what she had actually said.

But make no mistake, it was her words that brought that crowd to its feet.

Now today, that sublime almost accidental moment of good fortune for Hillary Clinton has been turned into something else entirely. A negative. The result is that the candidate and her campaign has been on its heels all day.

What happened?

Every newspaper’s coverage of that moment has been characterized by conjecture that the media itself created and ran with as a pack. That is whether or not Hillary was signaling an end to her campaign. Right now, over 24 hours after the debate ended, there is STILL a link on the home page of the New York Times that says this

“Debate Close Wasn’t a Farewell, Clinton Says”

On the Washington Post there is a story on the home page that called Clinton Soldiers On. Here is the first paragraph from that story.

“COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 22 — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted Friday that she had not meant to signal surrender when she shook hands with Sen. Barack Obama during their Democratic presidential debate in Austin the night before. It was a measure of the dire circumstances her campaign now faces that she had to explain the gesture at all.”

It’s a measure of the dire circumstances her campaign now faces that she has to explain the gesture at all? What an irresponsible news story-creating self-prophecy fulfilling political press machine we have now in this country. They decide. And then they decide some more.

CNN’s coverage of this has been an abomination. Like every other news source’s coverage of the debate, their only characterization of Hillary’s great final moment was to dig and claw away at it, asking only if it was a signal of surrender.

The news media’s behavior regarding this point has been repulsive. THEY created the valediction angle of this story out of thin air and they turned THEIR OWN erroneous suspicion into THE story.

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