KOA's Rosen continued media trend by fixating on so-called "Clinton cackle"

KOA's Rosen continued media trend by fixating on so-called "Clinton cackle"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Echoing others in the media, Newsradio 850 KOA's Mike Rosen on October 4 focused his attention on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's laugh, calling it "the Hillary Clinton 'cackle.' " Colorado Media Matters has pointed out that other Colorado media figures in the past have parroted conservative talking points that obsess over Clinton's voice or mannerisms rather than discussing her policies or agenda.

On his October 4 broadcast, Newsradio 850 KOA's Mike Rosen parroted other media personalities and outlets by seizing on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) laugh as a new subject of attention -- a pattern Media Matters for America recently documented. Before reading at length from a September 30 New York Times "Political Memo" by Patrick Healy, Rosen stated, "It's the Hillary Clinton 'cackle.' Regular listeners will recognize this tactic, and it seems to be employed almost exclusively by people on the left."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, other local media figures in the past have focused on Clinton's voice and mannerisms rather than the substance of her policies or agenda. Colorado Community Newspapers writer Curt Dale asserted in a March 29 column that Clinton's 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." Similarly, 630 KHOW-AM co-host Craig Silverman attacked Clinton's voice on his April 27 broadcast, saying that it "sends every man to put his shoulders up around his ears and say, 'What did I do? And how can I get away from you?' "

According to the Times article -- "The Clinton Conundrum: What's Behind the Laugh?" -- from which Rosen read:

It was January 2005, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had just finished a solemn speech about abortion rights -- urging all sides to find "common ground" on the issue and referring to abortion as "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."

Stepping offstage, she took questions from reporters, and found herself being grilled about whether she was moderating her own pro-choice position. And suddenly it happened: Mrs. Clinton let loose a hearty belly laugh that lasted a few seconds. Reporters glanced at one another as if they had missed the joke.

But nothing particularly funny had occurred; it was, instead, a deployment of the Clinton Cackle.

At that moment, the laugh seemed like the equivalent of an eye-roll -- she felt she was being nitpicked, so she shamed her inquisitors by chuckling at them (or their queries).

Later in the article -- after citing anonymous "advisers" saying that Clinton "needs ways to respond" to criticism "without appearing defensive or brittle" -- Healy wrote: "[L]ess often but more notably, she copes with the pressure by using what friends have come to call the Cackle." As an example, Healy cited a recent Democratic presidential debate, during which Clinton "laughed [at a question] before answering, as if to minimize the matter."

As Media Matters noted, starting with reports in the Times and the Politico, and progressing to many other outlets, commentators speculated about whether Clinton's laughter is evidence of her "calculating" nature, with some characterizing her laugh as a "cackle" -- defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "the sound made by a hen after laying an egg."

Rosen continued this trend on his October 4 broadcast, calling Clinton's laugh a "tactic" sometimes employed by callers to his show "who, when they want to position themselves such to subordinate me or anybody else they're debating with -- if they don't have a good counter-argument, they come back with the dismissive giggle as if, 'Ha, what you say has no substance; I reject it with my laugh.' " Rosen later added that "they must teach this in Leftism 101, because so many lefties use it."

Later in the program, after playing numerous examples of the so-called "Clinton cackle," including one in which Clinton laughed after Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace told her to "[p]lease send my best to the president," Rosen said:

That's funny. I guess that laugh is supposed to convey the following message: Please send my best to the president. "But Chris Wallace, you're on Fox News. Obviously you hate me, and you hate my husband Bill Clinton, so you don't really mean 'send my best to the president.' What you mean is, 'I hope you both die,' " so she dismisses it with a laugh. All right, that's the Hillary Clinton cackle.

From the October 4 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:

ROSEN: It's the Hillary Clinton "cackle." Regular listeners will recognize this tactic, and it seems to be employed almost exclusively by people on the left. We have a lot of callers who, when they come up short on their argument -- or who, when they want to position themselves such to subordinate me or anybody else they're debating with -- if they don't have a good counter-argument, they come back with the dismissive giggle as if, "Ha, what you say has no substance; I reject it with my laugh." Yeah, wonderful, great tactic, now give me your rebuttal. And of course, there frequently isn't one. I think they must teach this in Leftism 101, because so many lefties use it. The New York Times had a story about this on September 30, bylined Patrick Healy, under the headline "The Clinton Conundrum: What's Behind the Laugh?"

[reads passages from Times article]

ROSEN: You've heard this tactic employed so many times by liberals who call into this program; perhaps you're sensitive now when you see it in other places. And apparently Hillary has adopted it and made it part of her routine. Well, let's go from the abstract to the particular. And here are some examples: Let's start with the Bob Schieffer cackle on Face the Nation. This is the one that was alluded to in this New York Times piece; you can actually hear it for yourself.

[begin audio clip]

SCHIEFFER: You rolled out your new health care plan -- something the Republicans immediately said is going to lead to socialized medicine --

[Clinton laughs]

SCHIEFFER: It would require, among -- it would require among other things --

CLINTON: I'm sorry, Bob. [laughs]

SCHIEFFER: -- that every American would --

[end audio clip]

ROSEN: What an act. "Will invariably lead to socialized medicine." The laugh is meant to be a rebuttal of sorts -- "Oh, preposterous, socialized medicine, we don't want any part of that." Look across the border to Canada -- that's socialized medicine. And when you hear people talk about a single-payer plan -- which is Hillary wants to move to in stages -- that's what they're talking about, socialized medicine. And she laughs -- dismisses it -- as if it's preposterous. All right, here's Hillary with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE [audio clip]: Senator, talk about conservative hit jobs, right-wing conspiracies -- why do you and the president have such a hyper-partisan view of politics? [Clinton laughs]

ROSEN: Yeah, that's spontaneous, isn't it? This is with Bill Maher, a soul mate, on [HBO's] Real Time [with Bill Maher]. Actually, he's asking her whether she was fooled by President Bush. Now normally, Bill Maher would ask her questions coming from the left, softball questions that she could hit out of the park, but perhaps she thought that Bill Maher was challenging her about this one. So she even inflicted the dismissive, condescending laugh at Bill Maher, her left-wing soul mate.

MAHER [audio clip]: Senator Clinton, all the senators here except Senator Obama voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002, saying that their decision was based on intelligence that they believed to be accurate at the time. In other words, George Bush fooled you. Why should Americans vote for someone who can be fooled by George Bush? [Clinton laughs]

ROSEN: There it is again. Now, I just laugh, but that wasn't dismissive. It wasn't directed at an opponent, since there's no one here with me right now. I just think it's funny, and it's so transparent and so contrived. All right, here's Hillary with Chris Wallace again on health care.

[begin audio clip]

WALLACE: Let me ask you about health care.

CLINTON: Yeah, I'd love for you to ask me about health care. [laughs]

WALLACE: You did come out --

[end audio clip]

ROSEN: All right, one more with Chris Wallace:

WALLACE [audio clip]: Senator Clinton, we're going to have to leave it there; we want to thank you so much for joining us today. Don't be a stranger, and please send my best to the president. [Clinton laughs]

ROSEN: That's funny. I guess that laugh is supposed to convey the following message: Please send my best to the president. "But Chris Wallace, you're on Fox News. Obviously you hate me, and you hate my husband Bill Clinton, so you don't really mean 'send my best to the president.' What you mean is, 'I hope you both die,' " so she dismisses it with a laugh. All right, that's the Hillary Clinton cackle. If you've got any thoughts on that, give us a call. 713-8585. Have you noticed this yourself; is your analysis of it the same as mine, or do you disagree -- do you think this is all spontaneous and not contrived?

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