The Mirror

BuzzFeed, Politico Can’t Get Enough Of That (D)

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Why doesn’t BuzzFeed just go ahead and endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president already?

At least that would be honest.

Instead, the site’s Ruby Cramer thought it would be better to publish a huge spread praising Clinton for talking about “love and kindness.”

How did BuzzFeed tease that juicy morsel out of her? By asking the former secretary of state a question so penetrating that it stunned her: Why are you running?

The story then oozes all over itself with a burst of mindless praise for asking such an ingenious question. Pass the bubbly! (I can just see the Clinton aides nodding in exuberant approval.)

“Clinton turns to the one aide present, her press secretary, also seated at the table, and asks him to think back: “I don’t know of very many instances in the last 14 years that we’ve had these kinds of conversations.”

Leave it to BuzzFeed!

In case you were confused about how amazing BuzzFeed is, the website blows up Hillary’s quote about what a phenomenal question this is to 16,000 font.

The answer to that question, unpacked in far too many words: “Love and kindness.”

And for proof of Hillary’s sincerity, the writer turns to Melanne Verveer, one of Clinton’s “closest and longest-serving advisors.” According to Verveer, talking about love and kindness and how people treat should treat each other is “deeply who she is.”

For even more proof, BuzzFeed seeks comment from Karen Finney, another longtime Clinton aide and former MSNBC host.

“That all comes from the same place,” says Finney of the impulses behind the “love and kindness” mantra. “All those little moments on the rope line with people — she’s really adamant with staff. When she says, get their number or get their card and follow up, she really means it.”

BuzzFeed’s Hillary tongue bath continues:

“She has been asked every day, for decades, what she thinks, but rarely why. And here, next to a dishwasher, Clinton slides right back into the subject. Her words are slow and deliberate and she takes the conversation to this discussion she’s been trying to talk about, to bring up on the trail, as she is again ensnared in a campaign that’s more difficult than expected, in an election dominated by the language of anger and fear.”

“I am talking about love and kindness,” Clinton tells the wide-eyed BuzzFeed.

Longtime political watchers will remember that this exact sort of inane rambling was enough to knock the late Ted Kennedy off his presidential aspirations.

In 1979, CBS News broadcasted a profile by Roger Mudd that devastated Kennedy’s candidacy. Mudd similarly asked, “Why do you want to be president?”

Kennedy’s answer was nothing short of incoherent.

“A lot of people say that the CBS interview that we did destroyed his candidacy,” Mudd would say. “I don’t think so. It didn’t help. I don’t want to be known as the reporter who did in Teddy Kennedy… but it was one in a series of stumbles that he made including his own inability to articulate why he wanted to be president.”

BuzzFeed has a pretty clear history of this type of sucking up to Democrats while trashing Republicans.

In 2014, political reporter McKay Coppins shredded Donald Trump with a story he now has to eat because Trump is actually running for president.

The story — “36 Hours On The Fake Campaign Trail With Donald Trump” — succeeded in getting a Trump aide fired and mirrored the media’s frustration with The Donald’s penchant for being a political tease. But it didn’t succeed in predicting the future: Trump is, of course, running for president.

No one likes a bullshitter.

Which brings us squarely back to Cramer’s piece and why anyone with half a brain isn’t buying it.

“I couldn’t read past the fourth paragraph it was so embarrassing for BuzzFeed,” one Washington reporter told The Mirror.

A Republican strategist, who wanted to remain anonymous, thought the story was paid advertising. “Ruby Cramer served up Hillary with a gem of a story here,” he wrote. “I’d check her out to see if she’s also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative. Seriously, I thought you had to pay for advertorials and cite them as such. I wonder what kind of oppo David Brock has on Buzzfeed. Bottom-line, Hillary’s problem isn’t a messaging problem. Hillary’s problem is people don’t trust her, and with good reason.”

But Politico Playbook proprietor Mike Allen had no problem showering praise on Cramer’s story.

On Tuesday morning, Allen declared the BuzzFeed Hillary piece a “GREAT READ.” And who can blame him for endorsing such a dopey story? Certainly his relatives in progressive Portland won’t be embarrassed that he offered a standing ovation to the crappiest, most obviously biased story of the week. Surely his editors don’t care whose ass he has to smooch to maintain access. (Read between the lines. He still needs tips and insider-y details from the Clinton campaign for his morning newsletter. Philippe Reines won’t be complaining.)

Meanwhile Politico this week saved its slobbering for President Obama. Just hear out White House reporter Glenn Thrush, who bluntly said that he had “candidate envy” when he was forced to cover Clinton in 2008 instead of Obama. Thrush became the latest person to perform fellatio in the West Wing as he gushed to Obama about how jealous he was when he saw the size of the future president’s support.

“We’d ride around and we’d see the lines wrapping around your venue,” Thrush moaned.

The conservative Newsbusters butchered Thrush for his bias.

Other news sites have shown their blatant and despicable biases this election cycle. HuffPost refuses to take Trump seriously, no matter how high he climbs in the polls. First they stuck him in the entertainment section alongside Kim Kardashian‘s big butt. More recently, Arianna Huffington declared that HuffPost would no longer abide by that policy. Instead, they will tell it like it is — come on, really HuffPost? — and explain what Trump is really up to.

Breitbart News, meanwhile, is practically an appendage of Trump’s penis at this point. There have even been unsubstantiated reports (by BuzzFeed no less) that Trump financially supports the site in exchange for gushing coverage. Incidentally, washed up talk show host and Twitter activist Montel Williams accused The Daily Caller of receiving funds from Trump for favorable reportage too. (Of course, that’s total bullshit and Montel eventually apologized. No harm. No foul. I forgive him.)

I asked a variety of Washington media observers for their brutally honest thoughts about BuzzFeed‘s Clinton piece.

“That’s not a profile, it’s a puff piece,” one female observer told me. She added sarcastically, “Finally after all these years, someone who ‘gets’ Hillary. What took so long? How can they devote so many words to her utter devotion to ‘love and kindness’ and not mention Benghazi? For that matter, do they mention any of her failures? I haven’t gotten that far yet.”

The Washington Examiner‘s media writer Eddie Scarry also wasn’t buying it.

“So contrary to everything Hillary seems to be all the time that it’s impossible to take this seriously,” he wrote on Twitter.

I asked him to elaborate and Oprah Winfrey, an overweight spokeswoman for Weight Watchers who no longer cares about being thin, came to mind. (If you watch the commercials, Winfrey loves bread. Not even Dr. Oz is taking away her daily crust.)

“There has never been any strong indication throughout the campaign that Hillary Winfrey’s core objective is to foster a new atmosphere of ‘love and kindness,’” he told The Mirror. “Her pitch is that she’s the experienced adult in the room. And so it takes some mental exercise to read a 5,000-word article on how all she’s ever wanted is to heal the world through song.”

Members of the Washington media can be so cruel. “The piece is a sycophantic slog,” said a journalist. “The election is a 3-way race at BuzzFeed: Hillary, Sanders, and whoever the genderphobics pick.” And this: “It sounds like it was written by her spokesman. Vomit.” And this: “Ruby Cramer has been kissing a lot of ass to get to this moment.”

Some political journalists were perplexed by an obvious lack of anything spicy in the BuzzFeed story. The media site Muck Rack declared the story “buzzworthy,” but many in the media aren’t following that thinking.

“I think if you were to take all her direct quotes and line them up, she basically says nothing interesting,” an editor told The Mirror. “There’s nothing new here. There’s no nuance or development, nothing revealing whatsoever. Hillary Clinton Is Nice …. is not a story. It’s an embarrassment.

“This writer is oblivious too. She writes openly about HRC being ‘surprised’ that she asked ‘Why do you run?’ as it were an illuminating question. It’s dumb. Literally, I feel like HRC was surprised because it’s so mind bogglingly stupid. ‘Why do you run’ isn’t a question, it’s a naked opportunity to pontificate about helping needy people. There’s a reason ‘nobody’s asked her that in 14 years,’ and it’s because it’s such a daft question.”

A veteran Washington journalist suggested that a backdoor deal was made to land the interview.

“Anytime you get an interview with the Democratic front-runner, you take it,” he said. “But this appears that there was a negotiation on the article, which isn’t unusual. My bet is that there was a long negotiation about this interview. Is that usual? For some candidates, yes. For others, no. For Hillary Clinton, the answer is that is the norm.

“One question is: Did the campaign see the final product before it went live? That would be highly unusual and not journalistically sound.”

On another note, the veteran journalist added, “The piece is too long, and seems to lack focus. It ironically notes that Clinton has struggled to talk about love and kindness and her struggle to communicate on it. And the article doesn’t communicate it very well. Is that the writer’s fault or Clinton’s? Hard to tell.”

Another veteran journalist was dismayed by the BuzzFeed-Hillary love fest.

“I think this story is fawning, credulous and immature,” the individual wrote The Mirror only on condition of anonymity. “And really badly written. And overlong, and utterly pointless, I could hardly get through it. The funniest thing about it is how the wooden, cautious and rehearsed quotes of Clinton and her staffers contrasts so drearily to the overwrought prose. It was almost like a satire. But also more like a very bad college sophomore thesis by someone who’s been told they should be a writer.”

Maybe we’re all dumber for having read Cramer’s story. Still, I wanted to get to the bottom of BuzzFeed‘s thought process by reaching out to Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, whose site is so liberal that he may be transgender at this point. “Brenda Smith” wouldn’t be a hard adjustment.

I asked BuzzFeed why they didn’t just endorse Clinton instead of running a puff piece like this. I also inquired whether there was any negotiation between BuzzFeed and the Clinton camp. For instance, was Clinton and her team allowed to read the story before it ran? Will BuzzFeed formally endorse any candidate?

He never replied. Neither did Cramer.

BuzzFeed‘s new publicist Weesie Viera, who previously handled PR for MSNBC and CBS, told The Mirror that the site doesn’t endorse candidates.

But that won’t stop them from adoring one.