On Wednesday's CNN Tonight, CNN commentator Carl Bernstein oddly proclaimed "Hillary Clinton has been around for 40 years and yet we don't really know about her as a person." He said this just seconds after anchor Don Lemon reminded the audience Bernstein wrote an entire book about allegedly unknown Hillary Clinton.
Lemon was suggesting Donald Trump could throw "a 1990s playbook at her," which implies revisiting her ethical scandals and her policy failures, like failing to pass her nationalized-health-care plan. It might also imply her husband's sexual misbehavior, and how she resolutely defended him against charges of adultery and sexual harassment (she was never forced to address the Juanita Broaddrick charge of rape).
DON LEMON: Carl, Hillary Clinton says that she is ready to take on Donald Trump. If he, you know, throws a 1990s playbook at her, you know, she says whatever it is, that she's ready. You wrote a book on Hillary Clinton, so, what do you think?
CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, she's very good at going negative. She's done it in all the Clinton campaigns. She wanted to bring out negative and leak information about George W. -- Senior, H.W. Bush's supposedly affairs with women when Bush was running against Bill Clinton in the initial presidential race. But I think we're talking about the wrong thing. We're talking about what a hell of a show this is going to be. We haven't done the reporting.
And, why have there been no, not a single investigative biography of any of the candidates that I know of, on any of the major networks, cable networks. Look, we need to know about these people's lives, and their records. We didn't get to know about -- look, Hillary Clinton has been around for 40 years and yet we don't really know about her as a person. Why aren't we doing investigative biographies and put them on the air before the candidates?
Lemon wasn't buying that argument: "Hillary Clinton’s been out there since the 1980s. Donald Trump has been out there -- they are both two of the most documented people ever."
But Bernstein wasn't exactly arguing Hillary Clinton wasn't known. He began to suggest that someone with his impressive expertise should have their face spread all over someone's hour-long documentary. When Lemon tried to summarize his argument that Hillary hasn't been investigated, he corrected that strange notion: "There has in books. But we have much more power on television to put that story together. Pull out what's in my book. Pull out the reporting that's been done on Trump and put together a real documentary story of their lives.....we should have gotten to it months ago, on Rubio, on all of them. This is a great, great journalistic failing."
One could easily argue that PBS's Frontline does a (routinely slanted) documentary on the two nominees every election cycle. Informed voters have certainly heard the Hillary-organized biography over and over again since 1992, with the same rehearsed soundbites from "those who know her best." To Hillary, a balanced biography would sound like a hyper-critical screed.
In addition to Bernstein, former Fox analyst and Walter Mondale campaign manager Bob Beckel was on hand to offer the DNC spin: "Hillary Clinton has, from the very beginning, the reason her negatives are high. She's been on the defensive now every day of her public life and Carl wrote a book about her. I mean, a lot of people have written books about her and it's not all been flattering to say the least. She has taken the hits. And she said, I'll tell you, I've never seen her look as confident as she did tonight."