Front-page news, again

With the immigration debate, Plamegate, two wars and the threat of a third around us, the Times devotes resources to the Clintons' marriage.


Tim Grieve
May 23, 2006 4:52PM (UTC)

There are so many stories to cover in the political world right now, it's hard for us to know where we'd focus our attention if we suddenly had time to interview 50 people and conduct a review of five years' worth of comings-and-goings by a couple of individuals.

The New York Times' Patrick Healy apparently had that sort of time on his hands, and he and his editors chose to use it by taking a hard look at the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The resulting story: He goes out a lot, she works a lot; if she runs for president, "Democrats" say it's "inevitable" that voters will be "concerned or distracted" by her role in the Monica Lewinsky episode; they've built private lives for themselves "partly because of the demands of their distinct career paths and partly as a result of political calculations"; and don't forget the name Belinda Stronach.

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We didn't see any "First in a Series" label on the story, but we're sure it's just an oversight. Surely, the Times will turn its gaze next to the personal lives of the other would-be contenders for their parties' presidential nominations. After all, the mainstream media wouldn't single out the Clintons' personal lives for any kind of special attention, would it? And the Times' mention of a tabloid photo from last year that showed "Mr. Clinton leaving B.L.T. Steak in Midtown Manhattan late one night after dining with a group that included Belinda Stronach, a Canadian politician"? We're not supposed to take anything away from that, right?

To the Times' credit, it refrained from describing Stronach the way the Washington Times once did -- as a "younger, prettier and wealthier version of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton." But then, the 2008 presidential race and the mainstream media's coverage of it are only just beginning.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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