Two views of Hillary Clinton’s contentious interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air, in which the host pressed her repeatedly over her late support for same-sex marriage. Here’s a transcript of the exchange.

1. Hillary got what she deserved. Reader James C. writes:

Yes, NPR. Good on Terry Gross for challenging Hillary’s revisionist history of her and her husband’s support of DOMA, and for pressing her on something many more people should question: how these middle-aged (or older) Ivy-educated elites can suddenly all have had a genuine change of heart and mind on SSM. Please! It’s beyond ridiculous, and it’s refreshing to see at least one journalist hold one of these slippery dissembling panderers’ feet to the fire. Enough of this tired farcical “coming out” ritual for aged politicians who were until yesterday against SSA.

But no doubt the GOP elite too will be having lots of road-to-Stonewall-type epiphanies in the coming years. Spare us!

2. Hillary was victimized by an obnoxious liberal journalist who thinks same-sex marriage is the Most Important Thing Ever. Mollie Hemingway can’t believe she’s defending Hiillary Clinton, but she does. Excerpt:

Here’s the deal. With all due respect to the dulcet-voiced and predictably liberal Terry Gross, her questions demonstrate most everything that’s wrong with media coverage of same-sex marriage. That media coverage is unskeptical, political at the expense of anything deeper, and myopic to the extreme.

And as much as it kind of makes me die inside to say it, Hillary Clinton handled this interview really well — if you’re assuming she wants to run for president of an America that does not uniformly march in lock-step with the folks inhabiting most newsrooms.

Hemingway identifies “four troubling aspects” of Gross’s interview with Clinton. She’s right about every one of them, and spot on in making the broader point that Gross’s way of handling this issue is emblematic of a much bigger problem with the media and gay marriage. For example, says Hemingway, Gross spent way too much time — 10 questions! — trying to compel Hillary to say what she’s not going to say, even though it’s fairly obvious: that she embraced SSM for political reasons. Here’s Hemingway:

And on that note, unless you have four hours with a presidential candidate, this is a ridiculous length of time to spend on something unimportant — particularly when pursued so uncritically. This was seven minutes with the immediate past Secretary of State that could have been spent interrogating Hillary’s successes and failures regarding any of the global conflagrations that are exploding right now — Ukraine, Putin’s general march, the fall of Iraq, the rise of Iran, Libya’s anarchy, Syria’s human rights crisis, global persecution of Christians, Boko Haram, the coup in Thailand, North Korean threats, and so on and so forth.

I don’t know how often Hemingway listens to Fresh Air, but gay matters are so important to Terry Gross that I was genuinely surprised to learn that she isn’t, in fact, a lesbian.

Read her entire column. It makes a lot of sense, especially the part about how it’s not enough for our media today to find someone like Hillary to be supportive of gay marriage; they have to repent publicly and accuse themselves of thoughtcrime for not doing so fast enough — this, even though the entire country flip-flopped on this issue virtually overnight.

I find myself sympathetic to James C.’s point, but ultimately persuaded by Hemingway’s take. The media’s obsession with this issue is remarkable. We have persistent unemployment in this country, the middle-class is losing ground, the working class is losing more ground, we seem to be moving back to the Cold War, even as the Middle East is blowing up … and Terry Gross wants to spend a big chunk of her interview trying to get a presidential candidate to concede what everybody knows is true anyway: that she changed her mind public position on gay marriage for opportunistic reasons.

Liberal media figures like Terry Gross can’t take yes for an answer. They apparently want to see pols like Hillary Clinton grovel. I don’t mind seeing Hillary squirm, not one bit, but the deeper issue revealed by this exchange is cause for concern. Here’s Hemingway, from that post:

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a single skeptical question from any journalist on the topic of same-sex marriage. Their advocacy for same has been crushing and has contributed to a destruction of discourse that is harmful to civil society.

 

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