Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clinton Hardball

In the sad-but-probably-true department comes a Politico story about how GQ killed a piece about in-fighting in Hillary’s campaign for cover-story access to the former President.

One of the strengths of magazines is, unlike daily hard-news media, freedom of choice about what to cover and when. But along with that comes more dependence on sources for interviews in depth and cover sittings, among other needs.

When I retired two decades ago, the subjects of pieces and their publicity people, especially in show business, were getting very aggressive in bargaining for conditions that journalists should not accept. But in those days, when a major magazine cover story meant more than it does now, it was easier to resist.

But before bloggers and other finger pointers get too huffy about “selling out,” they should check the other side of the ledger. In the past year, GQ interviews have given us, among other news, Chuck Hagel’s unvarnished account of how the Bush Administration ramrodded the 2002 resolution to invade Iraq and the closest to a mea culpa from Colin Powell that we are likely to get.

In the lack-of-virtue-is-its-own-reward department, the Clinton campaign will probably sustain as much damage from the news of its arm-twisting as it might have from the story that never ran. Moreover, the juicy bits will leak out one way or another.

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