In attacking Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as “screeching” and being “out of control” and “disrespectful,” Colorado Community Newspapers columnist Curt Dale parroted popular conservative talking points that focus on Clinton's voice or mannerisms rather than her policies or agenda.
Echoing popular conservative talking points regarding Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Colorado Community Newspapers writer Curt Dale asserted in his March 29 column that her voice is “screeching” and her demeanor is “frequently out of control when caught in a difficult situation [and] totally disrespectful of anyone who challenges her Senator First Ladyship.” In contrast, Dale claimed, Republican candidate Mitt Romney “has a good voice” and is “smooth” and “articulate,” while possible GOP candidate Fred Thompson possesses a “wonderfully cultured Southern accent.”
The Castle Rock News-Press and the Douglas County News-Press publish Dale's “Mountaineer Musings” column, which identifies him as “a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and political writer.” In the March 29 piece, in which he wondered “what the upcoming presidential celebrates [sic] might look like in coming months” and "[w]ho among them has a voice that isn't bothersome in one way or another," Dale wrote:
I've been trying to imagine what the upcoming presidential celebrates might look like in coming months, once the primary races are over and the two candidates are selected. Not much excitement that I could think of in the candidates.
Who among them is a master speaker? Who among them has a voice that isn't bothersome in one way or another? Well, Barack Obama is quite -- Oh, no! I'm not going there.
Now, Mitt Romney has a good voice, but I'm not sure he's the guy who can really bombard an opponent in debate. I just haven't seen him in that role. Yes, he's smooth and I can safely say articulate. I've tried to imagine John McCain up against Obama. McCain against Hillary Clinton? No matter whom I put Clinton up against, I always hear screeching on one side and imagine the backpedaling of her opponents.
However, I received an excellent article about former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and it told me a whole lot I didn't know about him. If he decides to run, I could really get excited about his candidacy. I started imagining him up against Clinton. There she is, screeching, smiling, frowning, frequently out of control when caught in a difficult situation, totally disrespectful of anyone who challenges her Senator First Ladyship. And there opposing her is Thompson, that wonderfully cultured Southern accent, deep modulated voice and a brilliant mind that could handle all that Clinton could throw at him with ease.
Dale's ad hominem attack on Clinton's voice, intonation, and facial expressions resembles condemnation from other conservative media figures during the past year. Like Dale, these commentators have focused on Clinton's mannerisms rather than the substance of her words and policy agenda. As Media Matters for America has documented:
- On March 24, Time.com Washington editor Ana Marie Cox wrote in a post on Time.com's political weblog, Swampland, that Clinton was “eerily LOUD” and summarized Clinton's position as: “YOU CAN TELL I CARE ABOUT HEALTH CARE BECAUSE I AM SHOUTING ALL THE TIME.”
- In her March 7 column about Clinton's recent speech in Selma, Alabama, Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, wrote that “Clinton's voice sends mannequins into a fetal curl.”
- On February 2, the National Journal's Hotline On Call review of Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting suggested that her "[v]oice climbed into a yell five times" during her speech, without noting any other candidates' yelling.
- Discussing Clinton's victory speech during MSNBC's election coverage on November 7, 2006, co-anchor Chris Matthews told Republican pollster Frank Luntz that Clinton gave a “barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard.”
- On the August 10, 2006, edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, radio host Roe Conn said of Clinton's voice: “See, there's the thing about that sound -- there's sort of that shrill kind of thing,” adding, “I don't think that America is ready for six or eight months of that on the campaign trail. ... [S]he's constantly yelling at us like we're 4-year-olds.”
- On the February 10, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Joe Scarborough asserted that “there is a shrillness in Hillary that comes out on TV whenever she gets excited about something.” Referring to a speech Clinton gave “a year ago,” Scarborough added: "[E]very time her voice goes up, she gets very shrill."
Media Matters also noted that on the March 29 edition of Glenn Beck, host and Good Morning America commentator Glenn Beck -- who has referred to Clinton as a "stereotypical bitch" -- declared that Clinton's voice “makes angels cry.” Before airing another Clinton clip, he warned: “Brace yourself, men of America.” Beck also asked “voice specialist” Nancy Daniels and former Partridge Family cast member Danny Bonaduce to provide “independent professional verification” of the qualities of Clinton's voice.
Dale's assertion that Clinton is “disrespectful” toward her political opposition also echoed numerous other baseless or false claims from conservatives that Clinton is “calculating,” “dishonest,” “vicious,” or “ruthless,” as Media Matters has documented.