'Morning Joe' Panelists Lament Media 'Lying In Wait' To Attack Hillary Clinton

From numerous softball interviews to free publicity for her memoir Hard Choices, it is plain to see that the liberal media adores Hillary Clinton and pines for her to run as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2016. Except, of course, for the panelists on Morning Joe. On the July 25 edition of the MSNBC morning show, Mika Brzezinksi and her guests Mark Halerpin, David Gregory, and Donny Deutsch lamented the “horrible coverage” Clinton is “destined” to receive “if she runs for president.”

Brzezinksi began the segment by recounting former New York Time’s executive editor Jill Abramson’s statement that “the former first lady expected the press, especially female journalists, to be loyal to her” and Clinton’s response that “I'll have to work on my expectations.” While it is true that Clinton expects the liberal media to fawn over her, the Morning Joe panel forgot that usually, they do.

Clearly Meet the Press anchor David Gregory, who claimed that “the media will always look to kind of pick” Clinton’s “formidable and perhaps unstoppable force” “apart, especially if there's vulnerability,” did not see the PBS interview with Clinton in which Charlie Rose waited until the last three minutes of a 62-minute interview to ask the former Secretary of State about what some may perceive as the  biggest “vulnerability” of her career, Benghazi.

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch claimed that beyond public fatigue, Clinton may be suffering from a “media lying in wait” to take down the “formidable” candidate. The panel seemed unable to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton is having public relations issues despite the best efforts of the media to exalt its favorite presidential hopeful.

See transcript below:

Morning Joe
July 25, 2014
7:12 a.m. Eastern
4 minutes and 22 seconds

MIKA BRZEZINKSI: Former secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is admitting she may have some work to do when it comes to media relations. Clinton has frequently clashed with the press including during her 2008 presidential campaign. And her recent book tour. Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson believed the former first lady expected the press, especially female journalists, to be loyal to her. And now, Hillary Clinton is responding saying, "I think maybe one of the points Jill was making is that I do sometimes expect perhaps, more than I should. And I'll have to work on my expectations, but I had an excellent relationship with the State Department press that followed me for four years and enjoyed working with them, and whatever I do in the future I look forward to having the same kind of opportunities." Mark Halperin, your thoughts?

MARK HALPERIN: I don't ever like to overstate the media's role, but the media has a pretty big role in the presidential process. I think she's talking about the most important issue determining
whether she'll are president right now. She'll raise the money, she’ll have policy positions. She needs to find way to change the narrative how she's being covered. Right now she's destined to get horrible coverage if she runs for president.

BRZEZINKSI: So how did that happen, David Gregory?

DAVID GREGORY: You know, I just think this goes back a long time. One of the down sides to being in the public eye as a political figure for so long is that there's just a lot of baggage associated with that, that goes back now 20-plus years. And relationships and views about the press and situations you've been in. I think that's very difficult to get out from under. I think there's always been, go back to her presidential runs what has surrounded her is the idea that she's this formidable and perhaps unstoppable force. And I think the media will always look to kind of pick that apart, especially if there's vulnerability, and if you don't live up to expectations. I think that's part of what happened in 2008, and I think if you don't make -- if there's open disdain for a lot of the media culture, and members of the media, you're not able to kind of forge new relationships. I think the only way that can change is there's a real effort to sort of, to sort of create new relationships, and I think there, I think a kind of a deft comment. Almost like, I'm sorry I care so much. I'm sorry my expectations are so high. You know? That -- they’ll never be met.

BRZEZINKSI: Oh my gosh. Well, there's a need for a reset which she talked about as well. The reset with Russia we’ll get to that later. Verdicts are coming in for her book tour, which we've talked about as part of this conversation. Critics say the book is far from noteworthy except for some with the media. Others say it’s going to have no impact on voters. But sales numbers show also a different kind of sign. A troubling sign. Possible 2016 Dr. Ben Carson's book sold 60 percent more copies than Clinton's last week. Hard choices has sold about 192,000 copies so far compared to 183,000 for parson's one nation, about 1 million copies, Donny, of Clinton's book was shipped to bookstores. Still really good sales.

DONNY DEUTSCH: Here would be–here’s what I would be hoping, if I was the Clintons. The reason it didn’t sell is because it wasn't a personal memoir, it was about her time at the State Department and it seemed like a lot of academic reading to a lot of people. Pure marketing point of view, to sit down seems work. If the book was about her marriage to Bill Clinton, what she's gone to, you would have had 2 million copies. So, it’s kind of what readers' appetites are, number one. But the troubling thing, and I believe in addition to what David and Mark laid out very articulately, her problem is just simple fatigue. It's just, you see her picture, and do you want to turn the page at this point? Has there been, and is it 22 years and beyond the fact of her very, very, very contentious relationship with the media, it's just, are Americans just tired of looking at her? I don't mean from a physical point of view, and I think that's the big issue. And if that is the issue people are not picking up the book, that's going to be difficult. So if you couple that with the media laying in wait because she is so formidable and lying in wait, because there is no story if she just continues this march, on top of consumer's fatigue, the right republican candidate can beat her.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.