Which Came First, The Meme or the Media?

It is
difficult to tell if people believe Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and a liar
because she really is or because the media repeats these epithets every day
hundreds of times in a news cycle. They say they are giving poll results in
which average citizens record their opinions of whether or not these two
adjectives are Hillary’s main qualities and they are doing that. But there have
been dozens of such polls which means that we get to hear people’s feeling
recounted over and over again. But which came first, the media hype or the
public opinion?

Did this
mantra begin with the investigation into Whitewater? Most of us no longer know
the details of Whitewater (was it some kind of real estate, investment or
banking transaction which seemed not quite up to snuff). It was reported that
Hillary was cleared of any wrongdoing. However, a shudder still goes through
the public sphere whenever the word ‘Whitewater’ is invoked. We have been lead
to believe that there were improprieties but they were skillfully done and
could never be proven. As long as questions linger, the taint on the Clinton
reputation remains.

Then there
are Hillary’s reactions to her husband’s indiscretions which suggest that the
marriage is purely for optics, purely a political bond. How could any woman
overlook infidelity and not assume that a wandering husband was a criticism of
her behavior, or her womanliness, or her lovability? Perhaps this is where the
adjective cold comes in and the adjective calculating. Women should never be so
emotionally strong that they can keep their eyes on the prize and refuse to be
viewed as less because of the behavior of their spouse. The conclusions made
from this line of reasoning are that Hillary has no human emotions but can
sometimes pretend to have empathy for others and that she should be ridiculed
rather than praised for letting her ambition be more important than her image
as a wife and as a woman. But it seems possible to conclude that she is a true
feminist, who will not give her husband’s inability to remain faithful power
over her own self-respect or the world’s approbation. Again the media possibly has
furthered this social meme and perhaps kept it alive in the guise of merely
repeating a popular opinion.

Benghazi.
One only has to say the word. It is extremely doubtful that any American
citizen let alone a Secretary of State would deliberately deny support to an
American Ambassador faced with a violent attack. Testimony has shown over and
over again that there was no help available that could arrive in time to save
Ambassador Stevens and his staff. So when the press invokes Benghazi, which
they must because the Republicans keep the situation alive by investigating it ad infinitum, what is it that their
American listeners hear? Do they believe in their hearts that Hillary could
have done something to help but purposely did not? If so that would be a
terrible indictment of Hillary (but it has been disproven). Do they believe she
was so lightweight and frivolous that she did not give the pleas of the
Ambassador professional attention? Is Hillary shallow? If she is, which I don’t
believe, then she would probably not make a very good President (although I don’t
know who could be shallower than Donald Trump).

Or were all
Hillary’s sins committed after the event when she supposedly colluded with
President Obama during his election campaign to make events look isolated and to
make Americans believe that terrorists were not involved? Political expediency
has often affected stories the public is told about world events I would guess,
and yet, even so, the President did use the words ‘terrorist attack’ both in
the Rose Garden and in his speech as the bodies came home to America. We may
never know the truth about Benghazi because half of the people believe we
already know the truth and half of the people believe that dire secrets are
being kept. The media’s role in this is perhaps inescapable because the
Benghazi questions are kept alive as news.

Now we have
the emails and the press reporting everyday about what the polls have to say.
Hillary is untrustworthy. Hillary is a liar. This is the actual message America
is hearing even though the media is only reporting the results of polls and not
actual facts about Hillary’s character. We don’t have a true test that will
prove whether or not someone is untrustworthy, unless s/he is caught
red-handed. We have never really caught Hillary out in a lie. Did the Hillary
adjectives, cold, calculating, untrustworthy, liar, begin with the public or
with the press? Are they kept alive by the public or by the press? Which came
first?
I watch a news station that supposedly leans left and still the words
untrustworthy and liar are linked with the name Hillary Clinton on each new
hourly news show throughout the day. That is a lot of mentions and this has been
going on for months. Is the characterization true or is it a witch hunt? We can
no longer tell. I guess if the FBI arrests Hillary and charges her with a
felony that will make a lot of people very happy. But not me. Perhaps Hillary
was trying to be cagey and thought that she had found a way to keep her tenure
as Secretary of State under her control, but I am certain that she did not
intend to break any laws or play fast and loose with any government secrets.
Did she do this to cover up anything shady about Benghazi? Since she set up the
server before the events at Benghazi (at least as far as I know she did) then
this seems unlikely. This reminds me of when Martha Stewart went to jail for
something that happens all the time in the old boys’ club.

The press
should give this particular litany of Hillary faults a rest. Stop all the stories
that whisper those very negative adjectives in the same breath with the name
Hillary. Let things shake out without your incessant pretense that you are
possessed of knowledge which you do not possess. Polls are only powerful when
they are used as clubs to beat people over the head and beat a message into
their brain. It is now impossible to discern whether people would have been as
convinced of these particular Hillary character flaws if they had not heard
them hundreds of times a week for months.

By Nancy
Brisson