When covering politics, there are two types of stories: policy pieces and campaign coverage. The policy work is hard, often requiring print journalists and news producers to dig through legalese-laden documents and chase sources for comments and answers to questions. On the other hand, campaign coverage is easy. The stories are never about the issues being discussed or even the differing governing styles of the candidates, but instead focus on poll results and pundits’ opinions.
Which is why that in the middle of the Olympics, troubled policy initiatives in Washington from Obamacare to immigration reform, and significant global unrest, the American news media spent a significant amount of time on Hillary Clinton, who neither holds public office nor is publicly running for one (and it’s an election year). According to Mediaite, cable news organizations ran almost 100 segments totaling 410 minutes on the former Secretary of State.
No stranger to nonsense, lame-duck representative from Minnesota Michele Bachmann jumped into the fray. In an interview with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, she said that many Americans “aren’t ready” for a female Commander-in-Chief. “I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” she said, adding, “People don’t hold guilt for a woman.”
Bachmann further goes on to lay the blame at Clinton’s feet for the Benghazi terrorist attack and labeling a prospective Clinton presidency (with a presumed reelection, oddly) as third and fourth terms of the Obama administration. Of course, Clinton’s camp is mum about any potential presidential ambitions and, in fact, may not welcome the news media’s presumptions of her winning the nomination. The last time they did that, it ended in an almost-disaster.
Clinton was the presumptive nominee for 2008 well before the race began. Eventually, the primary dogfight lasted long beyond Super Tuesday and brought the term “super-delegate” into the public-at-large’s lexicon.
For the more conspiracy-minded (within reason) political fan, it is not incomprehensible to suggest that this latest media attention is a test run for next year. By exhausting the coverage of both Hillary and Bill Clinton’s scandals now, when the campaign truly starts, it will be old hat. Either way, discussion about 2016 presidential politics at the present is time that could be spent covering stories with more immediate importance.