Archive for Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nixed magazine article on Clinton raises eyebrows

September 29, 2007


— Two stories, both about politicians named Clinton, collided recently at one of the nation's most prominent magazines, raising questions about journalistic integrity and hardball political tactics.

GQ killed a 7,000-word article about infighting among aides to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, a move that came after the magazine began work on a cover story on the philanthropic efforts of Bill Clinton. The final decision was made after a spokesman for the Clinton camp told GQ that running the piece on Hillary would endanger the piece on Bill.

GQ Editor Jim Nelson insisted in an interview that the two events were not directly linked. "Hillary didn't kill the piece; I killed the piece," he said. While the author, Joshua Green, is a "terrific reporter," he said, "the story didn't end up fully satisfying. ... I guarantee and promise you, if I'd have had a great Hillary piece, I would have run it."

Green said the spiking had nothing to do with his work. "GQ told me it was a great story and a hell of a reporting job, but they didn't want to jeopardize the Clinton-in-Africa piece," he said. "GQ told me the Clintons were unhappy and threatened to revoke access to Bill Clinton if the Hillary story ran."

The incident, first reported by's Ben Smith, reflects the kind of pressure tactics that are not unusual in political campaigns but may be practiced with unprecedented aggressiveness by the tightly controlled Clinton media operation. It also demonstrates how the former president's star power - he is a media magnet riding a wave of favorable publicity - can be employed on his wife's behalf.

The freelance article was submitted to GQ by Green, a meticulous and well-regarded Atlantic Monthly writer but not a popular figure in what insiders call Hillaryland. In a cover story for the Atlantic last year, Green portrayed her as a "diligent" New York senator who skillfully forged alliances with detractors but also a cautious politician with "no big ideas."

Green's article for GQ dealt with the history of conflicts in the coterie of staff surrounding Clinton. It focused in particular on complaints about her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, and questions about the compensation of communications director Howard Wolfson. This spring, as final editing was being done on a second draft of the Green piece for the August issue, Nelson commissioned a "Man of the Year" story for the December issue on Bill Clinton and his charitable foundation.

Jay Carson, a Clinton campaign spokesman, tried to spike the Green article in June with a call to his editor at GQ, Joel Lovell. Carson made no explicit threat, say sources familiar with the incident who would not speak for attribution about private negotiations. Instead, he told Lovell that it would be a tough sell to persuade the former president to cooperate - and grant the magazine one of the limited seats on his upcoming flight to Africa - if GQ published a critical story about his wife. Carson declined to comment.

Such linkage is a favorite tactic of Hollywood publicists, who often attempt to get unfavorable stories killed by dangling the possibility of access to a bigger celebrity in their stable. And it is hardly unusual for presidential campaigns to cooperate with positive pieces and push back against potential stories they perceive as negative.

The Carson call caused considerable hand-wringing at the New York-based magazine, where editors did not want to be viewed as caving in to Clinton pressure. Nelson was not enthusiastic about the Green article after some flashier details could not be confirmed.


toefungus 6 years, 6 months ago

Fox has the only news available on TV. It's ratings will even grow stronger if (and likely when) Democrats get the Presidency. There will be no other network willing to take on the President and Congress.


DotsLines 6 years, 6 months ago

"Like other liberals, they were caught off guard when Fox triumphed over their liberal media empire of NPR, PBS and the big three networks."

And you were expecting what, from a cult that still insists GW wasn't elected president - the thought that the majority of people just don't share their views is too much to comprehend...


SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 6 months ago

Oracle and Koza obviously HATE Fox News because it is the most watched news network in the country. Like other liberals, they were caught off guard when Fox triumphed over their liberal media empire of NPR, PBS and the big three networks.


DotsLines 6 years, 6 months ago

"Dan Rather was removed as anchor of th CBS Evening News for narrating a piece showing that Bush went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard."

Uh, you do occasionally read a newspaper or watch the news, right? Are you implying that removing a newsperson for putting out a story - after the story was out there - that turned out to be based on obviously phony documents is the same thing as a politician saying if you publish anything critical about them, they'll withhold access to their celebrity spouse?

Maybe this will help - what Rather did was exactly what you are doing - in your zealousy to attack George Bush, you aren't bothering to check your facts before repeating them...

Ah, who cares? How many people get their political news from GQ? (Wait, don't answer that, please - in retrospect, I'm pretty sure the numbers would be terrifying.)


kozakid 6 years, 6 months ago


I'm with you, especially on Fox News. That fascist network should be should down no less than an hour after Hillary becomes president. Look at Bill O'Reilly's racist comments this week about that restaurant in Harlem. And then Fox got happy negro Juan Williams to defend the racist comments.

I've heard the fascists respond to the Bush deserter story by bringing up Bill Clinton's alleged draft dodging. I even saw where they attacked Dan Rather military service because he could not make it through Marine basic training. So what? Clinton and Rather are Democrats, not Republicans.


i_tching 6 years, 6 months ago

Infighting among campaigners? That's news?

This just in: the top three positions at the Justice Department remain unfilled, and Franco is still dead.


Oracle_of_Rhode 6 years, 6 months ago


Dan Rather was removed as anchor of th CBS Evening News for narrating a piece showing that Bush went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. And Bush DID in fact go AWOL.

Then, there's Jeff Ganon/Guckart, the male prostitute Bush's White House brought in to pitch Bush softball questions at news conferences.

Oh, and there's FOX NEWS, an entire network that acts as a propaganda arm for the GOP and Neocons.

If you want to get upset about a lapdog press, you can start there.


ljreader 6 years, 6 months ago

My 80 yr old aunt says, "Life's a b!tch. Don't vote for one".


Commenting has been disabled for this item.