It seems that the right-wing media considers the market more important than ideology and will give media coverage to a front-runner. What is more important than being Liberal or Democrat, liberal or conservative, is being a winner. Of course some grass-roots Conservatives might beg to differ!
<http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8549.html>Clinton's right-wing media romance soursBy: Ben SmithFebruary 16, 2008 10:27 AM ESTOver the course of her six years as a New York senator and in the early days of her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton cultivated an unlikely set of allies: the conservative media. From Rupert Murdoch to David Brooks to Matt Drudge, her campaign courted them with every instrument at its disposal, including targeted leaks and Bill Clinton's legendary personal charm.But when Sen. Clinton's campaign started to stumble, those hard-won friends were the first to go. Murdoch's pet tabloid, the New York Post, repudiated her and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. The Drudge Report rode her decline as gleefully as it watched her rise. And the pundit class moved from its grudging respect for Clinton into an infatuation with Obama.The forces at work in that collapse are varied: individual decisions, relationships gone sour and Clinton's own leftward shift as the campaign grew more competitive. But as much as anything else, Clinton's courtship of the right collapsed under the weight of a force conservatives can appreciate: the market.Whatever the views of pundits and opinion-makers, the conservative audience still makes up a voracious market for bad news about the Clintons. And the bad Clinton news has just been too good to pass up."Hillary's a lot easier to hate," said Ryan Sager, a columnist for the New York Post."Readers of Drudge, watchers of Fox News, they truly hate her. That's simply not true of Obama."Clinton's successful outreach to the right had three pillars: the conservative columnists who had begun to see her as the tough-minded centrist of the Democratic field; the media baron Rupert Murdoch; and the most powerful man in American political media, Matt Drudge, whose Drudge Report often sets the agenda for television coverage and broader political perceptions.And if the conservative base hated her, many members of the conservative elite did not.When the campaign got underway in the beginning of 2007, Clinton was under pressure to apologize for her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq. To liberals, her refusal was her Achilles' heel. To conservatives, it was an unexpected sign of a backbone."The conservative respect for her has 97 percent to do with her refusal to renege on her vote on Iraq," said John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine. "That is the sole sum and substance of the entire business."The position won her influential, and unexpected, defenders on the right."Clinton's biggest breach with the liberal wing actually opened up later, in the fall of 2003. Most liberals went into full opposition, wanting to see Bush disgraced. Clinton — while an early critic of the troop levels, the postwar plans and all the rest — tried to stay constructive," David Brooks wrote in The New York Times last February."She wanted to see America and Iraq succeed, even if Bush was not disgraced," he wrote, reflecting a broader respect for Clinton as a principled centrist, a hawk — a president with whom, perhaps, conservatives could do business.But as the race heated up, Clinton and Obama — pressed from their left by former Sen. John Edwards — began calling more urgently for withdrawing troops from Iraq. She still hasn't apologized for her vote, but she has promised to begin withdrawing troops within 30 days of her election. And she, like Obama, abandoned an initial resistance to the notion of setting a timeline for withdrawal."She certainly ran a more centrist campaign when she thought it was going to be a coronation," said conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer who, unlike Brooks, never credited Clinton with any principles. "She was more circumspect about withdrawal..Then Obama rises — she's really under threat — she has to go back to the base because he's taking it away from her."When she had to tack back left, obviously the right was less sympathetic to her," he said in an interview.And into that gap came another conservative flirtation: one with Obama."Many Republicans are rooting for him to knock off Clinton. If that makes it more difficult to keep the White House, so be it," Fred Barnes wrote in the Weekly Standard this week.Ideology is one thing. Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., which owns the Fox News Channel, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, was another matter. More businessman than ideologue, Murdoch has a storied history of putting his media resources to the service of politicians ranging from Ed Koch to Tony Blair, and extracting a price for his support.His New York Post had done its best to derail Clinton's 2000 Senate bid, but after she was elected, and particularly after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he — and his paper — turned a kinder eye toward her.Murdoch and Sen. Clinton lunched together in News Corp.'s private dining room in 2002, and courting him soon became a special project of Bill Clinton's.The courtship became public when the former president visited the New York Post's newsroom in January 2003, after which insulting caricatures of the former president largely disappeared from its pages. Later, Murdoch appeared at his annual conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Clinton spoke at a News Corp. gathering in Pebble Beach, Calif. They began speaking regularly on the telephone, people familiar with the conversations say. The Clinton Foundation even employed Murdoch's daughter-in-law as a consultant.Fox News began treating Clinton with, if not consistent respect, something short of the loathing it had shown in the 1990s. Murdoch even hosted a fundraiser for Clinton's reelection campaign. And the alliance seemed to have been consummated when the conservative Post endorsed Clinton for reelection to the Senate, a move that would have been unthinkable years earlier."We think she's done such a good job these last six years that she'd do well to serve six more," the paper wrote, cheekily but not without sincerity.The relationship seemed to be intact last year. Murdoch contributed the maximum, $2,300, to Clinton's White House bid. Clinton was the only one of the leading Democratic candidates not to attack Fox amid outrage that the right-leaning network would host a Democratic debate. (She did not, however, actually defend Fox.)Meanwhile, her campaign thought the Fox News Channel treated Clinton relatively fairly — compared to MSNBC, with which it is now openly at war.So the media establishment in Clinton's home state was stunned when the Post, on Jan. 30, backed Obama. And amid some very tepid praise for the Illinois senator, the editorial scalded Sen. Clinton and her husband.Ironically, it was Bill Clinton — who had worked so hard to woo Murdoch — who ultimately lost his endorsement."Bill Clinton's thuggishly self-centered campaign antics conjure so many bad, sad memories that it's hard to know where to begin. Suffice it to say that his Peck's-Bad-Boy smirk — the Clinton trademark — wore thin a very long time ago," the paper wrote.And there was no doubt as to whether Murdoch had approved the endorsement."The Post is Murdoch's authentic voice," said the former editor of one Murdoch paper.People close to the decision said the editorial represented Murdoch's genuine disgust at the former president's return to political combat. Murdoch's political aide, Gary Ginsberg, declined to comment on the move.Others suspected that some unknown factor had soured the relationship."I don't know what happened between them — that I can't tell you — but clearly something did," said former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who has credited the Post's endorsement with winning him that job, and who subsequently looked kindly on Murdoch's business interests as mayor.Before the autumn, back when she was still the conservative pundits' favorite Democrat, and when News Corp. seemed like an unlikely ally, Clinton worked on a third front: Drudge.The online pioneer became the recipient of choice campaign leaks. Last April 1, her much-anticipated quarterly numbers went first to Drudge, setting a pattern of such leaks for the year. And he reported prominently on her campaign's successes, leading Obama aides to complain that he was channeling her campaign's message and that he was an ally.The impression intensified when New York magazine quoted Drudge saying, on his radio show:"I need Hillary Clinton. You don't get it. I need to be part of her world. That's my bank. Like Leo DiCaprio has the environment and Al Gore has the environment and Jimmy Carter has anti-Americanism. I have Hillary."Drudge "seems obsessed with making Hillary Clinton our next president," the magazine observed.Some in Clinton's circle date the change in the tone of the Drudge Report to Oct. 22, when The New York Times published its own front- page look at the campaign's courtship of the website. The piece further elevated Drudge's stature. It also turned his professed affection for Clinton into conventional wisdom.The Drudge Report soon shattered that conventional wisdom.On Nov. 25, Drudge floated the rumor she was having a lesbian affair with an aide over the teasing headline, "Don't Go There."On Dec. 17, as doubts about her ability to win Iowa grew, he led the site with an unflattering but attention-grabbing photo of Clinton looking tired and haggard.The headline: "The Toll of a Campaign."Now each day features stories of Clinton campaign turmoil competing with those of Obama's surging popularity."ADIÓS: HILLARY'S TOP LATINA SIDELINED..." was the Feb. 11 headline, when Clinton's campaign manager left her post."OBAMA WINS NEBRASKA; WASHINGTON; LOUISIANA; MAINE...EVEN WINS ... A GRAMMY!Ties Clinton to Past...read items below."The next day, the site led with the tearstained visage of an Obama supporter. The headline: "Screams and tears of delight."Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson, declined to comment on the Drudge Report, as did the consultant who serves as Clinton's liaison to Drudge, Tracy Sefl.But while speculation in the Clinton campaign runs to mind-reading — had Drudge gotten self-conscious? had Obama aides wooed him? what was his true agenda? — other close watchers saw it as classic Drudge."Matt is not a player of favorites," said Podhoretz. "They fed him and he took what they had to give him."And when it came time to choose the news, he was both driving and riding two of the great developing storylines of the moment: Clinton's fall and Obama's rise.It was a story that appears everywhere. Clinton has hardly won a news cycle since the fall, and Obama has hardly lost one. There are no tidbits of turmoil inside Obama's campaign, no destructive leaks on which to harp. The role of Drudge — and Clinton's other former allies in the media — has been to amplify the signs of her weakness, not to create them.As for the broader collapse of Clinton's romance with the conservative media, Podhoretz and many others offered similar explanations."When people thought she was a winner, then they were inclined to feel more warmly toward her, and when they suspect that she's a loser, they decide — like all Americans toward all losers — that she must be humiliated and crushed," he said.