Some of us in the media watchdog business think Americans are anxious to read every last word from the New York Times and the Washington Post. These are important papers that do help shape the national agenda. But many people look instead to publications like the National Enquirer – the tabloid solidly in the corner of Donald J. Trump, the one he used to smear Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Similarly, the Democratic presidential candidate has Us Weekly, with millions of readers in her corner. Its May 2 issue featured a cover story on Hillary Clinton, telling America the “fun facts” about the former First Lady, such as that she loves to snack on hot chili peppers, and “I put hot sauce on everything.”
I was forced to read several copies of the weekly celebrity and entertainment magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office with a dead cell phone. It’s a different media world with its own sphere of influence that may eclipse so-called serious papers like the Post and Times.
In this world, Hillary is a celebrity, not a politician. But she’s just like us, an ordinary person. She eats things we eat. She does things we do.
I don’t know for sure who reads Us Weekly on a regular basis, but the publication claims to have millions of subscribers and reaches through its various platforms a total of 50 million “young, high income consumers with the most timely and current entertainment news, style, beauty and fitness/nutrition content….”
As we see with the Hillary Clinton cover story, a big dose of political bias is also thrown in occasionally. This is a reflection of owner Jann Wenner’s preferences for the policies of the Democratic Party. He is a major donor to the Democratic Party and used another of his publications, Rolling Stone, to endorse Barack Obama in 2008. Rolling Stone ran a Paul Krugman article in 2014 declaring Obama one of America’s most successful presidents. Obamacare, Krugman declared at the time, was “working better than even the optimists expected.”
These days, of course, even liberal publications are warning that the so-called Affordable Health Care Act is on the verge of complete failure and disaster because of its higher costs.
The Us Weekly issue with Mrs. Clinton on the cover was an obvious attempt by the magazine, acting in concert with the campaign, to “humanize” the candidate and counteract charges that she is a liar with health problems and unfit to be president.
The “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” cover story had nothing about emails or Benghazi. Instead, written from her own perspective, she informs us, “Bill Clinton proposed to me twice before I said yes.” Nothing was said about his womanizing or impeachment. It was if they are still a happily married couple. There was no talk of a lousy marriage in the pages of Us Weekly.
The inside story featured a flattering picture of Mrs. Clinton waving, with the notation that readers can “Find out more about her campaign at hillaryclinton.com.”
Another revelation from Hillary was “I do yoga. Not enough.” Plus, “Chocolate is my weakness…as are Goldfish,” a reference to the snack.
You get the idea: she’s just an ordinary person with needs and feelings like everybody else. She’s not some power-hungry politician with a radical left agenda. She’s one of us.
We may laugh at such coverage, but the owner has to figure that his mostly young readers can be easily fooled into accepting such an extreme makeover of one of the most dishonest candidates ever to run for the highest office in the land.
Number 18 in the list of 25 things we don’t know about Hillary is that when President Obama asked her to serve as his secretary of state, she joined the administration “Because when your president asks you to serve, you say yes.” This is one patriotic lady devoted to public service. She is truly for the public interest, the common good.
The Us Weekly website is similar to the magazine. Included with the latest celebrity news is an item on how Mrs. Clinton opened a jar of pickles and had her pulse taken on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show to prove she’s healthy, while Stephen Colbert did a bit comparing Donald J. Trump to disgraced American swimmer Ryan Lochte.
In addition to the Us Weekly puff piece on Hillary, owner Jann Wenner endorsed Mrs. Clinton in Rolling Stone magazine in March, saying that she “is one of the most qualified candidates for the presidency in modern times….” Attempting to refute charges that she is a liar, he added, “I keep hearing questions surface about her honesty and trustworthiness, but where is the basis in reality or in facts? This is the lingering haze of coordinated GOP smear campaigns against the Clintons – and President Obama – all of which have come up empty, including the Benghazi/e-mail whirlwind, which after seven GOP-led congressional investigations has turned up zilch.”
Zilch has now been surpassed by several more email controversies, to the point where Tuesday’s New York Times is running a story headlined “New Clinton Emails Raise Shadow Over Her Campaign.”
The paper reported that “thousands of emails that Mrs. Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November.”
Some of them may be as hot as her hot sauce. Kimmel should be prepared to check her pulse at that point.
© Cliff Kincaid