Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times does some serious drama-projection in this piece on the nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Here’s a snippet of the wankery:
Presentations of presidential appointees can be important, but they are rarely interesting. Usually, the men and women chosen for top cabinet roles are not well known to the public; if there is drama behind the scenes, most in the audience are blind to it.
That was hardly the case on Monday when President-elect Barack Obama introduced his national security team. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech was no ordinary public-service pledge; for plenty of viewers, it was the moment when Mrs. Clinton finally conceded the election for real.
The occasion was solemn, but like a wedding where the parents are divorced, the ceremony was carefully choreographed to avert awkward moments and camouflage past unpleasantness.
When Mr. Obama unveiled his economic team last week, he alone made a speech. In this more delicate selection, it was decided that Mrs. Clinton, his pick for secretary of state, should also speak. But that might look suspect — or too political — unless the five other appointees also said a word, and that, in turn, required a few words from Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who had yet to make public statements of any consequence since the election. (He spoke last, spiritedly, and at some length.)
Not all the staging was designed to address Mrs. Clinton’s sensibilities. She and the five other appointees walked out on stage and stood in line, almost as if at attention, waiting for the president-elect to walk in. He did so briskly, with Mr. Biden at his heels. [Emphasis added]
Look, it’s clear that the press wants there to be Obama-Clinton drama. They love the old storylines and they love creating a storyline that wedges Democrats apart. This is exactly that sort of story: Clinton v. Obama, Can He Trust Her? Will She Go Rogue???
But it’s 100% B.S. Nowhere in the press conference is it apparent that any of it was “designed to address Mrs. Clinton’s sensibilities.” Stanley is projecting, plain and simple. Moreover, at no point in the time since June 7, 2008, has Hillary Clinton ever suggested that her concession of the Democratic nomination for the presidency was not “for real.” Again, Stanley is making things up.
I have no doubt that the good people of the Obama Transition Team carefully choreographed yesterday’s press conference. It was likely on par with the roll-out of the Obama administration’s economic team for importance. So yes, there was surely a schedule of who spoke when and who stood next to whom. It’s even conceivable that the speeches of all of President-Elect Obama’s appointments were written and/or vetted by members of the transition team. This is not news. The professionalism and orderliness seen in the Obama press conference yesterday was not done out of a desire “to avert awkward moments and camouflage past unpleasantness.” It was “carefully choreographed” to be presidential.
Alessandra Stanley and her editors need to stop projecting their desired story lines onto the Obama administration (viz. making things up) and start reporting the news like professionals. Unfortunately, my guess is that as long as Hillary Clinton (let alone Bill) is in the picture, this will not happen. This is no fault of Senator and soon-to-be Secretary of State Clinton; the blame lies with petty and trite fiction writers like Alessandra Stanley.