I really hadn’t read New York Magazine, well, since the days when my buddy, MSNBC.com’s newly retired Scooper Jeannette Walls , penned the once-venerable Intelligencer column.
Anyway, there it was — a copy of the new issue nestled among the bills, college notices, and retail catalogues that manage to squeeze their way through the narrow brass slot in our front door. I had forgotten that with my mediabistro Avant Guild renewal, I gained a free annual subscription to New York and one other magazine that has yet to get past the brass.
Inside was a telling piece titled “Hillary Control” in which the writer reports how “The women of ‘Hillaryland‘ have constructed a carefully managed, always on-message, leakproof campaign,” but then questions, “…is this a good thing?”
I didn’t think much of it at the time, except in my affirmation that “command and control” remains alive and well in this supposed new age of transparency and two-way communication. With regard to Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary’s former scheduler who now stands at the center of Sen. Clinton’s inner circle of advisors, aka “Hillaryland“:
“Patti is also the chief enforcer of the family code: no leaks, ever. She expresses admiration for the way George W. Bushâ€™s campaign team controlled its message, and, given her druthers, would run this race no differently. ‘We are a very disciplined group, and I am very proud of it,’ she says with a defiant edge. Patti cites as one of her biggest achievements the fact that Hillaryâ€™s campaign launch in January was planned and executed with military precision. ‘There were so many eyes and ears waiting for her to say something about whether she would run. That what we managed to pull off was a creative, professional rollout of a presidential campaign without anybody really knowing about it [in advance] â€” I donâ€™t want to say it was the hardest thing Iâ€™ve done, but it was one of the things Iâ€™m most proud of.'”
For many Democrats and non-Democrats alike, there’s no shortage of disgust over the years of hubristic opaqueness emanating from the Bush White House (and those who speak on its behalf). Still, Patti supposedly admires “the way the Bush campaign controlled its message…” I found this very curious, but soon filed it away in my mind’s internal hard drive.
Watching Keith Olbermann self-aggrandizing re-cap of his duties as host of, yet another, Democratic debate, there it was: the Hillary soundbite that seemed to echo the communications mantra captured in the New York piece:
“So you can think big, but remember, you shouldnâ€™t always say everything you think if youâ€™re running for president, because it has consequences across the world.”
It reinforces the notion that today’s ideal communications paradigm isn’t so black & white. As much as there is a call for full transparency, there are legitimate reasons for asserting control over what emanates from the mouths of individuals, institutions and enterprises. Could some benefit from opening their mouths wider…so all the silver fillings (and even some of the cavities) are exposed? You bet.
I’m comforted, however in the knowledge that no matter how close Mrs. Clinton plays it to the vest, it’ll likely pose a vast improvement over what we’ve endured these last seven years.