Maureen Dowd | Media Matters for America

Maureen Dowd

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  • Here the pundits who said that Trump was a dove

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    One week before the 2016 presidential election, Chris Matthews posed a question on his MSNBC program. Why, Matthews asked, was Donald Trump’s campaign so feckless? Why wasn’t he on the stump every day asking voters questions like, “Do you like this string of stupid wars from Iraq to Libya to Syria?” Such a strategy, Matthews suggested, would provide the country with a clear choice: If “you want to keep all this the way it is, vote for Hillary Clinton,” but voting for Trump would “shake the system to its roots.”

    Last night, Trump’s administration launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in retaliation for the Syrian military’s reported murder of its citizens with chemical weapons. The strikes further enmesh the nation in a civil war with no easy solutions.

    By itself, the attack is the sort of “pinprick” that Republicans would likely scorn if it had been ordered by a Democratic president, threatening neither the survival of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime nor his ability to use such weapons in the future. If, as seems likely, this fails to change Assad’s behavior, it could lead to an unpredictable, escalating series of military actions against a close Russian strategic ally. There's little indication that the White House has considered the potential cost of that fight or who would lead Syria if Assad falls.

    It seems like Trump is leading us into what Matthews might call a “stupid war.” And that comes after escalations in U.S. uses of military force in Iraq and Yemen, both at the cost of civilian loss of life.

    To be clear, the argument that Trump was some sort of non-interventionist dove -- a dead letter since his ascendency to the presidency, especially in light of last night’s attack -- made no sense at the time.

    Trump supported U.S. military attacks on Iraq and Libya before he told the world he was against them. During the campaign, he said that we “have no choice” but to deploy tens of thousands of ground troops into Syria “to knock out ISIS,” backed military action against Iran, and refused to take using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe off the table.

    Beyond the garden-variety, off-the-cuff calls for military force, Trump has explicitly supported using the armed forces for war crimes. For years, he has said that we should “take” Iraq’s oil as a way to “pay ourselves back” for the invasion. He promised to kill the families of terrorists in order to defeat ISIS. He said that he would bring back banned interrogation techniques because “torture works,” and “only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work,” and terrorists “deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing.”

    But somehow, as Trump and Clinton clinched their party’s nominations and the general election campaign began last spring, the political media’s savviest pundits were determined to cast the Republican as the race’s national security dove. By cherry-picking comments in which Trump presented himself as a foe of nation-building, misreading his attacks on bedrock U.S. foreign alliances as evidence of a coherent ideological framework, and ignoring his grotesque sabre-rattling and threats of violence, these journalists created a narrative that wandered far from reality.

    Trump has not “demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has,” New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler reported on April 21. He “wants the United States to spend less to underwrite NATO and has talked about withdrawing the American security umbrella from Asia, even if that means Japan and South Korea would acquire nuclear weapons to defend themselves.” Thus, Landler concluded, the election could “present voters with an unfamiliar choice: a Democratic hawk versus a Republican reluctant warrior.”

    Over the next month, two of Landler’s colleagues expressed similar sentiments. Columnist Maureen Dowd declared that “On some foreign policy issues, the roles are reversed for the candidates and their parties. It’s Hillary the Hawk against Donald the Quasi-Dove.” According to Dowd, “Trump seems less macho than Hillary,” given that he “thought the invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea” (that isn’t true).

    And Times senior editor of politics Carolyn Ryan struck a similar tone during an appearance on MSNBC, suggesting that Trump's foreign policy positions will "redraw the typical ideological lines."

    With the Times taking the lead, the accolades for Trump’s purported dovishness piled up over the following months. Trump’s “Republican isolationism” would “ground the drones.”  (Since taking office, Trump has actually sought to “make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties.”) He could “be the military-industrial complex’s worst nightmare.” (He’s currently seeking a $54 billion increase in spending for the Defense Department.)

    “On more than one issue, GOP's Trump sounds like a Democrat,” the Associated Press reported May 15. On national defense, “the billionaire businessman could even find himself running to the left of Hillary Clinton.”

    Before the first 100 days of the Trump administration has ended, their isolationist dove has escalated U.S. fighting in at least three countries, with more trouble spots looming.

    Just don’t expect them to learn anything from the experience.

    Graphic by Sarah Wasko.
  • Reminder To The Media: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Media should report on the immense hypocrisy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump levying attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women.Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of engaging in infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogynistic behavior. Trump himself has also called Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky “totally unimportant,” and, The Washington Post reported, he “repeatedly dismissed and at times mocked” the women who have accused Bill Clinton.  

  • Media Take Note: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    When media report on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women, they should also mention the immense hypocrisy of Trump levying those claims. Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogyny. And Trump himself previously said both that Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was “totally unimportant” and that people would have been more “forgiving” if Clinton had a relationship “with a really beautiful woman.”

  • New York Times’ Maureen Dowd Writes Yet Another Anti-Clinton Column

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd continued her nearly 23-year long crusade against Hillary Clinton with a column accusing her of “compromis[ing] the president” and “willfully put[ting] herself above the rules.” 

    Dowd wrote a July 9 column, titled “The Clinton Contamination,” admonishing Clinton after FBI Director James Comey called her private email server “extremely careless” but recommended no charges for criminal conduct -- the Justice Department accepted those recommendations. In her column, Dowd called Clinton’s actions “arrogant” and “selfish” and said she “contaminated three of the purest brands in Washington -- Barack Obama, James Comey, and Loretta Lynch,” continuing that “Hillary’s goo got on Obama.” Dowd concluded that “the Clintons work hard but don’t play by the rules.” Dowd lamented that “the email scandal” had supposedly “clouded the futures” of some of the most trusted Clinton aides, and derisively referred to former President Bill Clinton as “the Arkansas devil.”

    A Media Matters analysis of Dowd’s columns found that 72 percent of her work between November 1993 and June 2014 included negative tropes against the Clintons, including regularly portraying Hillary Clinton as an unlikeable, power-hungry phony. In the year following, all 17 of Dowd’s columns with significant mentions of Clinton were negative. Dowd regularly relies on sexist tropes to describe Clinton, including that she is a “granny” who “can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman” and suggesting she “should have run as a man” during the 2016 election. Hypocritically, Dowd has also accused her of “cry[ing] sexism too often.” 

    Even Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, mocked Dowd’s column, tweeting, “Congratulations! This is the 7,673rd time Maureen Dowd has written this column! What a gig!”

  • 16 Times The Media Let Trump Falsely Claim He Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning


    Media figures and outlets have repeatedly pushed the myth, or allowed Donald Trump to push the myth, that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. There is no evidence to support this claim and February reporting from BuzzFeed News showed Trump voiced support “for invading Iraq” in 2002 and termed it a "tremendous success" after the invasion began.

  • BuzzFeed’s Editor-In-Chief Slams Media For Giving Credence To Trump’s Lie He Opposed Invasion Of Iraq

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith lambasted media outlets and reporters for allowing GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to “lie to their face” about his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, ignoring the evidence showing that in 2002 Trump supported the invasion of Iraq.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed throughout the GOP presidential primaries that he opposed the Iraq invasion, using his alleged opposition to attack his GOP rivals and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. But BuzzFeed’s “Andrew Kaczynski unearthed an audio recording of [Trump] saying he supported” the invasion in 2002. Despite releasing audio evidence, media outlets, including “CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, the New York Times, and the Washington Post” have all either reprinted Trump’s lie, or allowed him to claim he opposed the invasion without pushback.

    Smith also highlighted how the media, led by the Times’ Maureen Dowd, have also added this “fake fact” into a “fake narrative” that Trump is more of a “dove” on foreign policy than Hillary Clinton, ignoring that Trump’s claim he opposed the invasion has been debunked, that he has has refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe, and has floated military engagement with Iran.

    In his May 3 article, Smith implored media reporters to “stop letting [Trump] lie to their face about the most important policy call of the last 20 years,” writing, “Donald Trump did not oppose the invasion of Iraq” and “there’s no evidence that he’s ever been a ‘dove'”:

    One of the great stories of 2016 is how Donald Trump hacked the media: How he learned from the New York tabloids and The Apprentice; how he dictated terms to the weakened television networks; how he used Twitter and won Facebook.

    Those are complex questions that we will argue about for decades.

    Here is a simpler one: Could reporters stop letting him lie to their face about the most important policy call of the last 20 years?

    Donald Trump did not oppose the invasion of Iraq. Further, there’s no evidence that he’s ever been a “dove” — and a great deal that he’s been an impulsive supporter of military intervention around the world.

    We know this because BuzzFeed News’s intrepid Andrew Kaczynski unearthed an audio recording of him saying he supported it. You can listen to it above. The audio quality is clear.

    In the recording, made on Sept. 11, 2002, when it mattered, Howard Stern asked Trump whether he supported the invasion. His answer: “Yeah, I guess so.” On the war’s first day, he called it a “tremendous success from a military standpoint.”

    It was the most recent in a series of belligerent statements about Iraq. In 2000, he opined at length in his book how U.S. airstrikes did nothing to stop Iraq’s WMD programs and said it “is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion” in the context of a new war. He said many times in the late 1990s and early 2000s George H.W. Bush should have toppled Saddam during the Gulf War.

    Trump’s opinions during that period have all the force and thoughtfulness of a man who isn’t paying much attention and whose opinion doesn’t matter. His support for the war is also totally unambiguous.

    And yet, since Kaczynski found the audio recordings, most of the leading American media organizations have either repeated Trump’s lie or allowed him to deliver it unchallenged. That includes CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

    This fake fact is the basis for a fake narrative, crystallized in a Maureen Dowd column over the weekend christening “Donald the Dove.”


  • The New York Times' New Myth Is That Hillary Clinton Is More Hawkish Than Donald Trump


    The New York Times' Mark Landler and Maureen Dowd are baselessly claiming that Hillary Clinton would be more likely to bring the nation to war if elected president than Donald Trump, in part due to Trump's claims of opposition to the Iraq War. In fact, Trump supported the Iraq War, has refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe, has floated military engagement with Iran, and called for U.S. invasions of Libya and Syria.

  • The NY Times' Shoddy And Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Following former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson's acknowledgment that The New York Times gives an unfair "level of scrutiny" to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Media Matters takes a look back at some of the Times' most ludicrous, false, and sexist attacks on Clinton.

  • NYT's Maureen Dowd Alleges That Hillary Clinton "Killed Feminism"

    Dowd Has Been Launching Sexist Attacks At Clinton For Decades

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed in an opinion piece that Hillary Clinton "killed feminism," a charge undermined by Dowd's long record of sexist attacks against Clinton.

    According to a Media Matters study, between November 1993 and January 2016, Dowd wrote 212 columns that made significant mention of Clinton, 75% of which were negative and 17% of which accused her of betraying feminism. Dowd's decades-long history of sexist comments about Hillary Clinton includes variously characterizing her as excessively masculine and excessively feminine and comparing her to several mentally unstable fictional female characters. Over the last year, Dowd has compared Clinton to an "annoyed queen" and advised her to "run as a man this time." Despite these attacks, Dowd recently complained that Clinton's "campaign cries sexism too often."

    In a February 13 column, Dowd wrote that "Hillary Clinton killed feminism" and attacked her for assuming "there was an implicit understanding with the sisters of the world that now was the time to come back home and vote for a woman":

    The Clinton campaign is shellshocked over the wholesale rejection of Hillary by young women, younger versions of herself who do not relate to her.

    Hillary's coronation was predicated on a conviction that has just gone up in smoke. The Clintons felt that Barack Obama had presumptuously snatched what was rightfully hers in 2008, gliding past her with his pretty words to make history before she could.

    So this time, the Clintons assumed, the women who had deserted Hillary for Barack, in Congress and in the country, owed her. Democrats would want to knock down that second barrier.

    Hillary believed that there was an implicit understanding with the sisters of the world that now was the time to come back home and vote for a woman. (The Clintons seem to have conveniently forgotten how outraged they were by identity politics when black leaders deserted them in 2008 to support Obama.)

    This attitude intensified the unappetizing solipsistic subtext of her campaign, which is "What is Hillary owed?" It turned out that female voters seem to be looking at Hillary as a candidate rather than as a historical imperative. And she's coming up drastically short on trustworthiness.


    What the three older women seemed to miss was that the young women supporting Sanders are living the feminist dream, where gender no longer restricts and defines your choices, where girls grow up knowing they can be anything they want. The aspirations of '70s feminism are now baked into the culture.

    The interesting thing about the spectacle of older women trying to shame younger ones on behalf of Hillary is that Hillary and Bill killed the integrity of institutional feminism back in the '90s -- with the help of Albright and Steinem.

    Instead of just admitting that he had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky and taking his lumps, Bill lied and hid behind the skirts of his wife and female cabinet members, who had to go out before the cameras and vouch for his veracity, even when it was apparent he was lying.


    Hillary knew that she could count on the complicity of feminist leaders and Democratic women in Congress who liked Bill's progressive policies on women. And that's always the ugly Faustian bargain with the Clintons, not only on the sex cover-ups but the money grabs: You can have our bright public service side as long as you accept our dark sketchy side.

  • Maureen Dowd -- Who Once Termed Hillary Clinton "The Manliest Candidate" -- Claims "Her Campaign Cries Sexism Too Often"

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Dowd ClintonNew York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that while "sexism does swirl around" Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her "campaign cries sexism too often." Dowd has a long history of sexist attacks on Clinton, including writing three weeks ago that the former secretary of state ran "as a man" in 2008 but "is now running as a woman." 

    Dowd wrote in her February 6 column (emphasis added):

    Hillary is like a veteran actor who doesn't audition well. Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, that it doesn't convey passion but just seems forced, adding to her authenticity problem. Her allies think mentioning her shouting is sexist, and sexism does swirl around Hillary, but her campaign cries sexism too often. In 2008, Barack Obama used race sparingly.

    Clinton faced rampant sexism from the press during her 2008 campaign, a pattern that re-emerged during the first week of February when a series of pundits attacked her "shrieking" tone of voice during a speech.

    Dowd herself frequently uses her platform at the Times to levy gender-based attacks on Clinton. In decades of columns dating back to November 1993, she has:

    • Spent much of the 2008 presidential primary campaign characterizing Clinton as excessively masculine; she called Clinton "The Man," described her political message as "man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity," and claimed Clinton was "the manliest candidate among the Democrats."
    • During the 2016 presidential primary campaign switched to attacking Clinton for being excessively feminine, claiming that she was "running as a woman" when she "should have run as a man" like she supposedly did in 2008.
    • Attacked Clinton alternatively for being "Mommie Dearest," "a manly girl," the "senator from Stepford," and a "debate dominatrix."
    • Compared Clinton to a variety of violent or mentally unstable fictional female characters, including Sybil (a movie character with multiple personality disorder) and the 50 Foot Woman.
    • Written 37 columns accusing Clinton of betraying feminism, including claiming that she "was unmasked as a counterfeit feminist after she let her man step all over her."
  • Media Personalities Ridicule The Volume Of Hillary Clinton's Voice During Iowa Caucus Victory Speech

    Media Outlets Follow Conservative Media's History Of Attacking Clinton's Voice, Mannerisms, And Appearance

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Right-wing media pundits attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for celebrating her victory in the Iowa Caucus, claiming her tone during her speech was "unpleasant," "angry, bitter, screaming," and suggested that Clinton "may be hard of hearing." Criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech echoes a larger, sexist right-wing media campaign to denigrate Clinton's voice, mannerisms and public appearances.

  • Maureen Dowd's Latest Ugly Attack: Hillary Clinton "Should Have Run As A Man This Time"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd suggested that Hillary Clinton "should have run as a man this time" and likened Clinton to a dog in in her latest negative assessment of the Democratic presidential candidate.

    Dowd has a decades-long history of attacking Clinton, often invoking bizarre comparisons in her criticism. According to a recent Media Matters analysis of Dowd's columns on Clinton dating back to 1993, 75 percent of 212 columns that made significant mention of Clinton were negative. Since June 2014, all 17 of Dowd's columns that mention Clinton significantly were negative. Dowd's first 2016 column on Clinton compared her to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie The Revenant, which is about a revenge-minded trapper making his way through the wilderness.

    In a January 16 column for The New York Times, Dowd claimed that Clinton ran "as a man" in 2008 but "is now running as a woman."

    Based on her apparent belief that Clinton's 2016 campaign is overly feminized, Dowd wrote, "she should have run as a man this time, when Americans feel beleaguered and scared and yearn for something 'big and masculine and strong.'"

    Instead Dowd claimed that Clinton "has cast herself as Groundbreaking Granny."

    In a later section in her column, Dowd wrote, "It may be more relevant to ask if someone is a cat or a dog," as opposed to a man or a woman.

    While comparing President Obama to a cat, Dowd likened Clinton, along with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, to a dog:

    Both Hillary and Trump have been emphasizing that they will do a lot more schmoozing with lawmakers and others who disagree with them, vowing to be dogs with a bone, eager canines offering paws, and not a cool cat stalking away at the first sign of difficulty or when affection is most desired.

    Dowd previously accused Clinton of "acting like a masculine woman" during the 2008 campaign and her call for Clinton to now "run as a man this time" comes after Dowd has accused Clinton of betraying feminism more than three dozen times.

    According to Media Matters' January 13 study, dating back to November 1993, Dowd has made significant mention of Hillary Clinton in 212 columns:

    • 159 columns (75%) were negative
    • 53 columns (25%) were neutral or positive
    • 61 columns (29%) have accused Clinton of being power hungry
    • 37 columns (17%) accused Clinton of betraying feminism
    • 15 columns (7%) said Clinton was not likeable
    • 47 columns (22%) characterized Clinton as a phony
    • 44 columns (21%) performed psychoanalysis of the Clinton marriage
  • Maureen Dowd Starts 2016 With Return To Anti-Clinton Crusade

    Dowd's Last 17 Clinton Columns Have Been Negative

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS


    With her first column of 2016, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd returned to her decades-long crusade attacking Hillary Clinton. Dowd has increased her vitriol towards Hillary Clinton in her New York Times columns since Media Matters first analyzed her body of work over a year-and-a-half ago.

    As we reported, 72 percent of the 195 columns Dowd wrote from November 1993 to June 2014 with significant mentions of Clinton were negative. All 17 columns with significant mentions of Clinton that have been published since the first report were negative.

    Dowd's first column of 2016 compares Hillary Clinton to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie The Revenant, which is about a revenge-minded trapper making his way through the wilderness. In a now-famous scene, DiCaprio's character is mauled by a bear.

    And finally, of course, there's the politician most like Glass in her willingness to crawl through glass, flip her positions and persona, and even bear up under a mauling by a merciless, manic bear to reach that goal most yearned for. In Hillary Clinton's grimly relentless trudge toward the White House, the part of the bear is played by Donald Trump.

    Dowd continues the column by accusing Clinton of being a hypocritical feminist scheming for power.

    This latest column follows Dowd's script for Hillary Clinton, which she's been using for decades. In eleven of the newer columns added to this study, Dowd characterized Clinton as being power-hungry, while in fourteen of them she argued that Clinton is a phony (accusing her, for instance, of "acting like a masculine woman" in the 2008 election). Dowd also returned to presenting herself as an expert on the Clinton marriage in two of her recent columns, with claims like "[Clinton] has spent a lifetime cleaning up messes sparked by her overweening desire for control and her often out-of-control mate."

    Including the past eighteen months of data, dating back to November 1993, Dowd has made significant mention of Hillary Clinton in 212 columns:

    • 159 columns (75%) were negative
    • 53 columns (25%) were neutral or positive
    • 61 columns (29%) have accused Clinton of being power hungry
    • 37 columns (17%) accused Clinton of betraying feminism
    • 15 columns (7%) said Clinton was not likeable
    • 47 columns (22%) characterized Clinton as a phony
    • 44 columns (21%) performed psychoanalysis of the Clinton marriage

    Dowd's Clinton bashing is so repetitive that she appears to occasionally recycle column headlines. In July of 2002, Dowd's column was headlined "Hooray for Hillarywood!" and then thirteen years later the exact same phrase was back, this time asking "Hooray for Hillarywood?"

    The same themes are being recycled as well. Dowd has leaned on movies to an almost absurd rate in order to prop up attacks on Clinton. In the past, she called Clinton "the senator from Stepford," for example, and quoted an anonymous aide calling her "The Terminator."

    In May of 2015, Dowd was back at the movie well:

    Hillary Clinton's campaign has echoes of various classic movies: "Single White Female," with Hillary creepily co-opting the identity of the more trendy Elizabeth Warren; "My Fair Lady," with Hillary sitting meekly and being schooled on how to behave by tyrannical Pygmalions (Iowa voters); "The Usual Suspects," with Hillary's hoodlums, Sidney Blumenthal and David Brock, vying to be Keyser Söze; and, of course, "How to Steal a Million," a caper about a heist plotted by a couple that doesn't need the money.

    In the past 18 months, Dowd has also compared Clinton to an "annoyed queen," and asked Clinton if she could campaign as "something between Macho Man and Humble Granny."

    Dowd even wrote a piece comparing the former secretary of state to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was embroiled in the "deflategate" controversy where it was alleged he had a role in tampering with footballs used during a playoff game.

    In her column, Dowd found a way to connect the athlete with the former secretary of state:

    Two controlling superstars with mutable hair and militant fans, married to two magnetic superstars who can make a gazillion an hour for flashing their faces and who have been known to stir up trouble.

    A pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win.

    It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think.

    The comparison doesn't make a lot of sense, but it fits right in with Dowd's bizarre rhetoric over the last two decades when it comes to Clinton.


    Media Matters used the Nexis database to search The New York Times archives for "hillary and clinton and BYLINE(Maureen Dowd) and Editorial Desk." We also used the Times website to identify Dowd pieces that mentioned Clinton from the Week In Review and Magazine sections prior to Dowd's 1995 move to the editorial desk. We reviewed those columns, coding ones that included any substantive discussion of Hillary Clinton for whether Dowd invoked any of 16 negative tropes in five categories.

    Those variables were:

    Plotting For Power

    o Hillary is inflexible/uncompromising

    o Hillary has a bunker mentality, will not listen to detractors

    o Hillary acts tough

    o Hillary is always scheming for more power

    Betrayed Feminism And Played The Victim

    o Hillary is bad for feminism

    o Hillary traded on slights from men to get ahead

    o Hillary fakes her feminism

    People Don't Like Her, She's Not A Nice Person

    o Hillary is mean

    o Hillary is not likeable

    o Hillary is cold and unemotional

    She's A Phony

    o Hillary doesn't know who she is

    o Hillary has no 'real' identity

    o Hillary doesn't believe what she says

    o Hillary is scripted and prepackaged and poll-driven

    Targeting The Clintons As A Couple

    o The Clintons won't go away, even though everyone wants them to

    o Their marriage is a sham, a trade of power for more power

  • Media Return To Deriding Hillary Clinton's Laugh

    "The Cackle," "A Record Scratch," And Other Tired Attacks From The Debate

    Blog ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY

    Clinton and Sanders at the October 13 debate

    Multiple media figures derided Hillary Clinton's laugh during the first Democratic presidential debate, calling it a "cackle" and "a record scratch." During the 2008 presidential race, Clinton's laughter was repeatedly attacked, despite criticism that such attacks were rooted in sexism.

    During the October 13 CNN debate in Las Vegas, Clinton laughed after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended her from repeated questions about her use of private email by criticizing the media for fixating on the issue and saying, "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" Clinton and Sanders shook hands as the crowd applauded.

    The moment has been described by several outlets as a highlight of the night.  

    But several media figures initially focused on Clinton's laugh. BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski tweeted, "oh god the Clinton laugh is out," while the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "THE CLINTON LAUGH," and Fox's Sean Hannity tweeted "Omg that laugh."

    Several conservative media figures took it further, calling it a "cackle":

    Attacking Clinton's laughter was a common theme during the Democratic primary before the 2008 election. In September 2007, after Clinton appeared on several Sunday political talk shows and laughed in response to some questions, media figures spent weeks debating and mocking her laughter. Fox News led the charge, with Bill O'Reilly even discussing Clinton's laughter with a "body language expert" who deemed it "evil," and Sean Hannity calling the laugh "frightening."

    The mainstream press picked up on the attacks on Clinton's laugh, with New York Times political reporter Patrick Healy writing an article with the headline "Laughing Matters in Clinton Campaign," in which he described Clinton's "hearty belly laugh" as "The Cackle," calling it "heavily caffeinated" and suggesting it may have been "programmed."

    Then-Politico reporter Ben Smith also described Clinton's laugh as her "signature cackle," while Politico correspondent Mike Allen and editor-in-chief John F. Harris wrote that Clinton's laugh "sounded like it was programmed by computer."

    And New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who has a long history of nasty attacks on Clinton, claimed Clinton's laugh was allowing her to look less like a "hellish housewife" and a "nag" and more like a "wag":

    As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: "She's never going to get out of our faces. ... She's like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won't stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone."

    That's why Hillary is laughing a lot now, big belly laughs, in response to tough questions or comments, to soften her image as she confidently knocks her male opponents out of the way. From nag to wag.

    The list goes on: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, then-MSNBC host David Shuster, then-MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, radio host Mike Rosen, Dick Morris, the Drudge Report, The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi, Time magazine's Joe Klein, the New York Times' Frank Rich, CNN's Jeanne Moos, and others all debated or derided Clinton's laughter during Clinton's first run for president.

    Politico's Allen said on MSNBC during all of this that "'cackle' is a very sexist term," and disputed MSNBC's Chris Matthews' use of it in reference to Clinton. Other outlets agreed; Jezebel called out Matthews for his "cackle" criticism and other derisive remarks, asking, "can we agree that no matter what your political allegiances, this is not the way you speak of a woman -- whether she is a senator or not?" Rachel Sklar, writing in the Huffington Post, said at the time "I keep finding sexist Hillary Clinton bashing everywhere I turn," noting that criticisms of the candidate's laughter "turn completely on the fact that she's a woman. 'The Cackle?' So would never be applied to a man. We all know it."

    Unfortunately, the criticism hasn't stopped in the intervening seven years. The Washington Free Beacon has a "Hillary Laugh Button" permanently on its site. The National Journal published in June 2014, many months prior to Clinton declaring her second bid for president, a "Comprehensive Supercut of Hillary Clinton Laughing Awkwardly With Reporters." And conservative tweet-aggregator Twitchy in August mocked "scary as hell" pens which featured "Clinton's cackling head."