Wash. Post's Achenbach: Hillary Clinton "needs a radio-controlled shock collar so that aides can zap her when she starts to get screechy"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

In a January 7 blog post, Washington Post writer Joel Achenbach stated that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "needs a radio-controlled shock collar so that aides can zap her when she starts to get screechy." Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted the media's attacks on Clinton for her voice or laugh.

In a January 7 post on his blog, Achenblog, which was also published in the print edition of The Washington Post, Joel Achenbach wrote that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) "needs a radio-controlled shock collar so that aides can zap her when she starts to get screechy," adding: "She came perilously close to going on a tirade. Volume is critical in these things: Ask [former Vermont Gov.] Howard Dean [(D)]." Achenbach was referring to Clinton's performance in the January 5 ABC News/Facebook Democratic debate. As Media Matters for America has documented (here, here, here, here, and here), the media have frequently attacked Clinton for the tone and volume of her voice or laugh. Most recently, following Clinton's appearance on all five Sunday political talk shows on September 23, 2007, the media latched onto Clinton's purported "cackle."

As Media Matters noted, on October 9, 2007, Fox News' Fox & Friends juxtaposed an audio clip of Dean's exclamation during his 2004 concession speech after he came in third in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses with an audio clip of Clinton laughing during a September 23, 2007, interview on Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday. During the segment, Republican pollster Frank Luntz called Clinton's laugh a "cackle" and co-host Steve Doocy said Dean's exclamation was "like a cackle."

From Achenbach's January 7 post, titled, "End of the Clinton Era?"

And then there's the junior senator from New York.

At the risk of hurting her feelings let us ponder the possibility that she'll slip all the way to third in Tuesday's vote. I'm going to go see her in Nashua shortly in hopes that I catch her before she drops out of the race entirely. After last night's debate performance there are already people talking about the end of the Clinton era. She came out of St. Anselm's College so torn up she needed to borrow bandages from Mitt Romney.

That may be premature -- the latest poll showed her tied with Obama here -- but when John Edwards, defending Barack Obama, flung his left hand at her face and uttered the words "status quo" you could feel the hull being ripped below the water line. Clinton fought back, but she needs a radio-controlled shock collar so that aides can zap her when she starts to get screechy. She came perilously close to going on a tirade. Volume is critical in these things: Ask Howard Dean.

Sure, she still has fans here. Marc Nozell of Merrimack told me Friday that he saw her last year in Portsmouth, and she wasn't the person so often portrayed as "kinda bitchy, kind of distant, not very warm." He said, "I like the experience. I think she can start working. She knows all the players."

But it's not shaping up as an election where knowing all the players is what the majority of voters want. (Obama, we recall from his most recent book, had trouble even getting into the 2000 Democratic National Convention because he didn't have a credential.)

Person
Joel Achenbach
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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