Back in 1995, the Clinton White House produced a 332-page packet for media friends that was badly titled “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.” It charged a “right-wing conspiracy industry” spread fictions about the Clintons.
Conservatives might easily think of that when perusing Jonathan Martin’s New York Times piece from Wednesday, headlined “As Donald Trump Pushes Conspiracy Theories, Right-Wing Media Gets Its Wish.” Don’t they love to put “conspiracy theories” and “right-wing media” in the same headline?
Martin’s beginning seems a bit obtuse:
WASHINGTON — Ever since talk radio, cable news and the Internet emerged in the 1990s as potent political forces on the right, Republicans have used those media to attack their opponents through a now-familiar two-step.
Political operatives would secretly place damaging information with friendly media like The Drudge Report and Fox News and with radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh — and then they would work to get the same information absorbed into the mainstream media.
Candidates themselves would avoid being seen slinging mud, if possible, so as to avoid coming across as undignified or desperate.
Do Martin and the Times really believe this is a unique process, that the Clintons never place “damaging information with friendly media” without their fingerprints? Are they somehow pretending to be unaware of other examples — say, a bartender secretly videotaping a Mitt Romney speech in 2012 about the “47 percent” and leaking to the leftist magazine Mother Jones so it can be “absorbed into the mainstream media”?