If our recent spat of “town hells” proves anything, it’s that the corporate news media loves a good distraction. You really haven’t learned anything about the health care reform proposals, but you sure know a lot about what a handful of committed (or should be) idiots think is in there, based on disinformation gleefully encouraged by Republicans and health care insurance companies.
The same holds for the “outburst” mini-scandal emerging from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Africa. Did you know she has an agenda? That she has pledged assistance to Somalia? Confronted sexual violence in the Congo? Promoted economic development in Angola?
If you do, it’s because you are probably not getting your news from television or radio, but from that newspaper facing extinction in your home town; or — more likely — from the Internet, where I got all the above links, most which lead to newspaper websites.
TV news has other business, obsessed with treating politicians like celebrities and not, say, people who make decisions or craft policies that affect our lives. Clinton is an über-celebrity politician, and certainly one they love to build up, only to knock down. What goes for Britney goes for Hillary. But in Clinton’s case, the stakes are higher, because she wields real power. Her moment of jet-lagged testiness became instant fodder for a media culture that feels bound by duty to punish powerful women. As Suzanne Golderberg observes:
Only of course it’s not coverage of the secretary of state’s trip to Africa, but an underhanded way of once again questioning whether Clinton, or substitute the name of almost any other woman occupying a high profile position, has a legitimate right to her job.
That was, more or less, the message of Sonia Sotomayer’s confirmation hearings as a supreme court judge when old white man after old white Republican man conceded she had all the legal credentials – but they weren’t comfortable with her pride in being a woman and a Latina.
It’s a two-fer for Da Patriarchal Basturds. Knock down the uppity chick, and obscure U.S. foreign policy in Africa. After all, what does “economic development” mean in Angola, where only two decades ago we were funding one side of a civil war, another proxy of the Cold War? How reliable are any of our pledges to Somalia, or anywhere else in Africa? What is motivated by humanitarian impulses, by the Globular War on (T)error, by corporate globalization, by energy resource competition?
In light of those questions, really, who gives a shit about the Clinton marriage? They aren’t Brangelina!