Hillary Clinton's $35 doorstop of a memoir is a flop. It was a best-seller to hard-core Democrats, but her advance is estimated at $14 million, which means Simon & Schuster is taking a bath in the hopes of a publishing a future president.
Worse yet, The Washington Post reported that according to an Amazon.com measurement of which electronic books are most-read, Clinton's book came in dead last among recent political books. Every time people highlight something in a book on their Kindles, Amazon records that data. By that measure, most readers barely started it. "The deepest into 'Hard Choices' the popular highlights get is page 33, a quote about smart power. Three of the five most-popular highlights occur within the first 10 pages."
After "Hard Choices" came the anti-Hillary books. Edward Klein's "Blood Feud" claims the Clintons and the Obamas loathe each other. It replaced "Hard Choices" at the top of the best-seller list. The New York Post reported that Hillary Clinton told college friends last year that President Barack Obama was "incompetent and feckless," and charged that he had "no hand on the tiller half the time."
That sounds quite accurate - but it's unsubstantiated. Klein's reliance on anonymous sources gives the pro-Hillary media a reason to ignore him. That doesn't mean they don't have a double standard, however. Recall NBC and others gleefully detailing the gossipy Joe McGinniss character assassination of Sarah Palin in 2011, and never mind Kitty Kelley's uber-trashy Nancy Reagan biography.
Now Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard is "Clinton Inc.," with a new set of scandals. Among them? Politico is reporting that a source told Halper that Bill and Hillary went straight to the board of directors of General Electric in 2008 to "get back" at MSNBC host David Shuster for saying Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by Hillary's campaign.
Halper's source says the Clintons told GE brass they needed "to do something" to punish Shuster. "Before long, GE's chairman Jeffrey Immelt, was on the phone with Jeff Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC Universal at the time, and (former NBC News president) Steve Capus asking, 'What the hell is going on over there? Why are my board members talking about the reporter, and why is your reporter referring to Chelsea as a prostitute?'"
Shuster apologized repeatedly on MSNBC's air and then was suspended for two weeks. Halper writes this episode sent a message to all media. "You may like Obama more than Hillary, but you'd better watch what you say because we have the power to destroy you." They "bullied a relatively obscure reporter with powerless friends and spineless bosses."
The media are continuously pressured to ignore all books that are any less adoring of Hillary than she is about herself. Politico went to Hillary spokesman Nick Merrill, who offered the usual thuggish reply: "Daniel Halper has joined the discredited and disgraced ranks of Ed Klein and Jeff Gerth. His book came and went so fast that nobody bothered to read it, and nobody will."
A thuggish response, yes. But it might end up ultimately true in media circles. The Shuster story speaks to the power of the Clinton machine. When that machine declares an author to be politically stillborn, woe to he who veers from the directive.
On Nov. 14, 2011, NBC News picked up Chelsea Clinton for a cool $600,000 a year to play reporter. Coincidence or apology?