Hillary Clinton on the A-list?

August 13, 2009

Jeffrey Gettleman over at the NYT has been earning some criticism lately.   Perhaps it’s unfair, but I’m going to add mine to the mix.

Like everyone, he can’t resist repeating, one more time, Secretary Clinton’s response when asked to relay what BILL Clinton thinks about Chinese investment in Africa.  For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is anything wrong with her answer, and wish we could exit the echo chamber in which it’s endlessly framed as a mistake.

But back to Gettleman’s article: he acknowledges that Clinton’s aides have been frustrated that this single sound byte has dominated the coverage of the trip and then CONTINUES TO PERPETUATE THE TREND HIMSELF.  His next paragraph reads:

But her evident irritation at the question quickly fueled speculation that Mrs. Clinton felt eclipsed by former President Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea last week, in which he rapidly secured the release of two American journalists who had been sentenced to years of hard labor.

Mr. Gettleman, thank you so much for voicing that rumor.  Also, thank you for taking more time to talk about her “sunken cheeks,” her visible tiredness (mentioned three times for anyone counting), the inadequate emotion and urgency in her language, and her “prickl[iness]” than to discussing the substance of her words—good governance, ending conflict, addressing sexual violence, and women’s rights.

And just in case it wasn’t clear, he ends the article with this:

As one journalist covering her trip put it: “She is a celebrity. We have a celebrity secretary of state. When you have a celebrity, you get celebrity coverage.”

And, it appears, when you’re a woman, you get a woman’s coverage.



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