Saturday, February 09, 2008

Atrios on Clinton Derangement Syndrome and the press

Highlighting another dimension of Thursday's incident in which David Shuster of MSNBC News rather bizarrely suggested that having Chelsea Clinton campaign for her mother meant that she was being "pimped out in some weird sort of way" by the Clinton campaign (Enough with sexist Hillary-bashing) ...

... Atrios correctly places it within the long-term pattern of Clinton Derangement Syndrome:
But what I find worse is that it's part of a general pattern of taking perfectly normal political activities - in this case a family member helping out with a campaign - and talking about them as if they're unseemly, or corrupt, or inappropriate, or seedy, or sleazy, etc... The press has a long history of doing this with the Clintons, holding them to a weird standard that no one else is held to.
(Incidentally, although NBC has temporarily suspended Shuster and compelled him to make a pro-forma on-air apology, it seems clear that Shuster himself couldn't see any problem with what he had said ... which is a good indication of the general atmosphere.)

--Jeff Weintraub

P.S. And speaking of CDS ... Brad DeLong, among other people, has neither forgotten nor forgiven a joke that John McCain told publicly at a Republican fund-raiser in 1998 (quoted from published reports at the time by David Corn): "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

It seems that McCain later apologized to Bill Clinton for this, and we all say stupid and tasteless things occasionally. But what I find most telling and revealing is that McCain could safely assume that a gathering of Republicans would find a joke like this funny. Just think about how many layers of hostility and casual bigotry are compressed into this one (semi-pornographic) two-line joke.