Category Archives: Polls

Which Came First, the Meme or the Media?

CNN Poll reprinted online in American Thinker

It is difficult to tell if people believe Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and a liar because she really is or because the media repeats these epithets every day hundreds of times in a news cycle. They say they are giving poll results in which average citizens record their opinions of whether or not these two adjectives are Hillary’s main qualities and they are doing that. But there have been dozens of such polls which means that we get to hear people’s feeling recounted over and over again. But which came first, the media hype or the public opinion?

Did this mantra begin with the investigation into Whitewater? Most of us no longer know the details of Whitewater (was it some kind of real estate, investment or banking transaction which seemed not quite up to snuff). It was reported that Hillary was cleared of any wrongdoing. However, a shudder still goes through the public sphere whenever the word ‘Whitewater’ is invoked. We have been lead to believe that there were improprieties but they were skillfully done and could never be proven. As long as questions linger, the taint on the Clinton reputation remains.

Then there are Hillary’s reactions to her husband’s indiscretions which suggest that the marriage is purely for optics, purely a political bond. How could any woman overlook infidelity and not assume that a wandering husband was a criticism of her behavior, or her womanliness, or her lovability? Perhaps this is where the adjective cold comes in and the adjective calculating. Women should never be so emotionally strong that they can keep their eyes on the prize and refuse to be viewed as less because of the behavior of their spouse. The conclusions made from this line of reasoning are that Hillary has no human emotions but can sometimes pretend to have empathy for others and that she should be ridiculed rather than praised for letting her ambition be more important than her image as a wife and as a woman. But it seems possible to conclude that she is a true feminist, who will not give her husband’s inability to remain faithful power over her own self-respect or the world’s approbation. Again the media possibly has furthered this social meme and perhaps kept it alive in the guise of merely repeating a popular opinion.

Benghazi. One only has to say the word. It is extremely doubtful that any American citizen let alone a Secretary of State would deliberately deny support to an American Ambassador faced with a violent attack. Testimony has shown over and over again that there was no help available that could arrive in time to save Ambassador Stevens and his staff. So when the press invokes Benghazi, which they must because the Republicans keep the situation alive by investigating it ad infinitum, what is it that their American listeners hear? Do they believe in their hearts that Hillary could have done something to help but purposely did not? If so that would be a terrible indictment of Hillary (but it has been disproven). Do they believe she was so lightweight and frivolous that she did not give the pleas of the Ambassador professional attention? Is Hillary shallow? If she is, which I don’t believe, then she would probably not make a very good President (although I don’t know who could be shallower than Donald Trump).

Or were all Hillary’s sins committed after the event when she supposedly colluded with President Obama during his election campaign to make events look isolated and to make Americans believe that terrorists were not involved? Political expediency has often affected stories the public is told about world events I would guess, and yet, even so, the President did use the words ‘terrorist attack’ both in the Rose Garden and in his speech as the bodies came home to America. We may never know the truth about Benghazi because half of the people believe we already know the truth and half of the people believe that dire secrets are being kept. The media’s role in this is perhaps inescapable because the Benghazi questions are kept alive as news.

Now we have the emails and the press reporting everyday about what the polls have to say. Hillary is untrustworthy. Hillary is a liar. This is the actual message America is hearing even though the media is only reporting the results of polls and not actual facts about Hillary’s character. We don’t have a true test that will prove whether or not someone is untrustworthy, unless s/he is caught red-handed. We have never really caught Hillary out in a lie. Did the Hillary adjectives, cold, calculating, untrustworthy, liar, begin with the public or with the press? Are they kept alive by the public or by the press? Which came first? I watch a news station that supposedly leans left and still the words untrustworthy and liar are linked with the name Hillary Clinton on each new hourly news show throughout the day. That is a lot of mentions and this has been going on for months. Is the characterization true or is it a witch hunt? We can no longer tell. I guess if the FBI arrests Hillary and charges her with a felony that will make a lot of people very happy. But not me. Perhaps Hillary was trying to be cagey and thought that she had found a way to keep her tenure as Secretary of State under her control, but I am certain that she did not intend to break any laws or play fast and loose with any government secrets. Did she do this to cover up anything shady about Benghazi? Since she set up the server before the events at Benghazi (at least as far as I know she did) then this seems unlikely. This reminds me of when Martha Stewart went to jail for something that happens all the time in the old boys’ club.

The press should give this particular litany of Hillary faults a rest. Stop all the stories that whisper those very negative adjectives in the same breath with the name Hillary. Let things shake out without your incessant pretense that you are possessed of knowledge which you do not possess. Polls are only powerful when they are used as clubs to beat people over the head and beat a message into their brain. It is now impossible to discern whether people would have been as convinced of these particular Hillary character flaws if they had not heard them hundreds of times a week for months.

By Nancy Brisson