I THINK THE CONSERVATISM OF THE NEW ZEALAND mainstream media was well illustrated in a discussion on the US presidential elections between former ACT leader Rodney Hide and the ubiquitous Chris Trotter.
As I've mentioned before, the two come together every Thursday afternoon on Radio Live for a bit of a chat on current issues with co-hosts Ali Mau and Willie Jackson. Hide, as a former leader of ACT, is advertised as representing the right while Trotter's job is supposedly to put forward a left wing perspective.
But anyone who had no knowledge of Rodney Hide's political background, may of mistakenly thought that it was he giving a leftish view of the US Presidential elections. Employing a term that someone close to me used recently in a recent blog post, he described the contest as a 'tragedy'. It was a tragedy, said Hide, because the American people had been presented with the choice of two very poor candidates indeed.
You might of thought that Chris Trotter would have agreed wholeheartedly. You might have thought he might have perhaps used the opportunity to discuss how the Republicans and Democrats are but the two political wings of corporate America. But there was silence. The man who normally isn't slow to come forward with an opinion had nothing to say.
The reason for Trotter's tardiness would of been obvious to anyone who has read anything Trotter has written on Hillary Clinton recently. He is, of course, a loyal Clinton supporter and he has gamely tried to cast her as a champion of progressive politics - a view that has been roundly attacked by readers of The Daily Blog.
But, eventually, Trotter did speak up. He claimed that once people had ' a good look' at Clinton and her policies then her poll ratings always rose. The implication, of course, being that Clinton isn't the conservative and corrupt machine politician that she is being cast as.
Either Trotter really believes what he's saying or he's telling porkies, but, either way, he's just wrong. If you look closely at Hillary Clinton,as Trotter suggests, you find anything but a misunderstood progressive.
For example, the recent batch of documents released by Wikileaks from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign shows staff carefully tailored her remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement so she could support it if elected president.
In March 2015, before she officially launched her campaign, Dan Schwerin, who is a director of speechwriting, sent out a draft letter of planned remarks on trade.
“The idea here is to use this to lay out her thinking on TPA and TPP ahead of action on the Hill and a joint letter by all the former secretaries of state and defence,” Schwerin stated. “This draft assumes that she’s ultimately going to support both TPA and TPP.”
In another email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, its revealed that a paid speech Clinton did for Deutsche Bank in 2014 was written by a speechwriter so she had something to show if people ever asked what she said “behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”
Mandy Grunwald, a consultant with Grunwald Communications, advised the campaign not to go down this road.
“The remarks below make it sound like HRC doesn’t think the game is rigged—only that she recognizes that the public thinks so,” Grunwald argued. “They are angry. She isn’t.”
Thanks to Wikileaks, much more of this incriminating material is freely available on the Internet. But Trotter seems to have decided that if he just ignores it, it will all go away.
As for his claim that she enjoys a lift in popularity once people really get to know her, Trotter appears as if he's been interviewing his keyboard again. According to RealClearPolitics Clinton's unfavourability now stands at 53%. Only Donald Trump is preventing Clinton being the most unpopular major-party presidential nominee in modern American history.
But perhaps what was most irritating thing about the Radio Live discussion was the complete absence of any recognition that there are alternatives to the two party duopoly. For the left, that means the Green Party's Jill Stein.
A proper and credible left wing commentator would have mentioned the availability of third party candidates like Jill Stein and even question why they have been shut out of the televised national debates - especially since recent polls have indicated that up to 80 percent of the American people want to hear from candidates other than Clinton and Trump. Unfortunately that avenue of positive discussion was closed off by the presence of the reactionary Chris Trotter, misrepresenting the left again.