The mainstream media can feel Hillary Clinton’s pain. Not the pain inflicted on her by her Republican opponents. Not the pain inflicted on her by her closest Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders (or that would be inflicted if he chose to go after her on the scandalous issues that have tarnished her campaign).
No, the pain they want to spare her is the merciless attacks leveled at her … by one young Democratic voter. In a column in The Nation Wednesday endorsing Clinton, Joan Walsh wrote that what made her mind up was the unconscionable treatment Clinton received during the CNN Democratic presidential town-hall meeting Monday night:
[A] young white man — entitled, pleased with himself, barely shaving yet — broke the news to Clinton that his generation is with Bernie Sanders. “I just don’t see the same enthusiasm from younger people for you. In fact, I’ve heard from quite a few people my age that they think you’re dishonest. But I’d like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn’t there.”
I’m not sure I can unpack all the condescension in that question. I heard a disturbing echo of the infamous 2008 New Hampshire debate moment when a moderator asked Clinton: “What can you say to the voters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight, who see a resume and like it, but are hesitating on the likability issue?” Yes, the “likability” issue. I found myself thinking: Not again. Why the hell does she have to put up with this again?
You can almost feel the sting of the hot tears … on Walsh’s cheek.
More sympathy on Thursday from NBC anchor Lester Holt, who, like Walsh, was shocked by the same incident, which Holt admitted made him “wince”:
LESTER HOLT: I want to ask you about a moment at the town hall the other day. A young man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, stood up and said young people don’t trust you.
[Video of the questioner, named Taylor Gipple, stating, “I’ve heard from quite a few people my age that they think you’re dishonest.”]
HOLT: And when he said that I winced. And I was wondering, you’ve obviously been in tough battles, political battles, but do you get your feelings hurt sometimes? [Emphasis added]
Who knew Clinton was a China doll so fragile that Lester Holt winces when she’s asked “tough” questions by prospective voters. Maybe Clinton lacks the toughness to be the first female president.