The next opus from the Game Change bros won’t be published until early next year, but another major book about the 2016 presidential contest -- Shattered, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes -- has just come out, and a certain newspaper's review of it inspired Esquire’s Charles Pierce to go after a liberal institution.
According to Pierce, the usual criticism of Hillary Clinton’s campaign isn’t groundless, but it is greatly overstated. The real story of the race, he wrote in a Thursday post, was that “Donald Trump was a helluva candidate. In fact, for the cultural and political context within which that election took place, he might have been a perfect candidate.” Moreover, Trump “got a lot of help from James Comey, the renegade New York office of the FBI, and (likely) Macedonian adolescents in the pay of Russian plutocrats.”
Trump also benefited from “the elite political media -- and, especially, the cable news stations and, especially, CNN -- put[ting] the wind beneath his wings with stunning regularity.” But that wasn’t the only role media bias played in the campaign. Just as Trump had powerful de facto friends in the MSM, Hillary had a powerful de facto enemy -- a Gray Lady. “Somehow, Being Tough on the Clintons has become one of the ways [The New York] Times has tried to prove its journalistic bona fides to the country and the world,” Pierce alleged on Tuesday.
To Pierce, the Clintons’ image as scandal-plagued is in large part attributable to the Times, which since the early ’90s has reported extensively on stories that “were, by and large, complete bullshit, inflated by Republicans and a willing and timid elite political press into a Questions Remain culture of faux-scandal that persisted through the entirety of the 2016 campaign. And it began long before the Times ran seven stories about…Comey's release of his 11th hour letter to Congress on its front page.”
Pierce concluded by noting that the NYT’s Billary coverage is an aberration (bolding added):
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For more than 25 years now, it was the Times that wrote the Clinton Rules and brought them down the mountain as surely as Charlton Heston brought the tablets of the law down Mount Horeb. This is a great newspaper with people who do great work, but one that somehow leaves its greatness between the cushions of the sofa when it comes to dealing with one family in our politics. It's truly weird.