Hillary Clinton held a campaign event in South Carolina on May 27th. While speaking to a group of women, she randomly infused sentences with a southern accent. Her behavior begs the question: If Hillary Clinton were speaking to a group of Jamaicans, would she occasionally sound like a reggae artist? Perhaps even more fascinating is the fact that multiple media outlets tried to normalize her behavior.
Here we have Hillary Clinton joking about not changing her hair color in the White House — while changing her accent (see C-Span clip starting at 22:30):
We’re up against some pretty powerful forces, political and economic, that will do, say and spend whatever it takes to advance a very different vision for America. I am here to tell you: I am not afraid to take them on. […] I do know how hard this job I’m seeking is. I have seen it up close and personal. You’re not gonna catch me wondering what it’s like. […] All our presidents come into office looking so vigorous. Think about what they look like on Inauguration Day. And then we watch them. They grow grayer and grayer. And by the time they leave, they’re as white as the building they live in. Now let me tell you, I’m aware I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I have one big advantage — I’ve been coloring **start Forrest Gump accent** my ha-ir for ye-ars. **end Forrest Gump accent** (Hillary Clinton, Columbia, S.C. May 27, 2015)
Years ago I traveled all over the U.S. for a job that allowed me to speak to groups of young people. Whether I was in Maine or Florida, Ohio or Texas, I sounded like a guy who grew up just outside Chicago. The thought of trying to change my voice and delivery into something foreign to who I was as a person never crossed my mind. That is why Mrs. Clinton’s behavior seems so strange.
If you work for CNN, Bloomberg News, The New York Times or a host of other media outlets, then my take is apparently the odd one.
CNN’s Maeve Reston is so in the tank for Mrs. Clinton that she won’t even call out the blatant projection of a line like “We’re up against some pretty powerful forces, political and economic, that will do, say and spend whatever it takes to advance a very different vision for America.”
Immediately after Mrs. Clinton says some people will do and say anything, she adopts a Forrest Gump accent for a South Carolina audience. Classic. To Ms. Reston, however, it’s only time to try a Jedi mind trick on her followers: “These are not the accents you are looking for.”
The New York Times acknowledges the “twang,” but that’s about it. The tweet essentially boils down to: “Eh. Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.”
Then there is Bloomberg News, which actually released a YouTube video shortly after Mrs. Clinton officially started her campaign. The news outlet actually felt the need to warn the public ahead of time and to assure them that such behavior “is not terribly unusual.”
Those who subscribe to the politics of race, class, and gender would rather have a fake woman in the White House than an authentic man. There is almost no behavior too strange to mount a defense — if the politician has the right letter next to his or her name.
Mrs. Clinton is right: there are “powerful” people who will “do, say and spend whatever it takes to advance a very different vision for America.” She knows because she is one of them.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations hinge on convincing millions of people that she is authentic when she is not, and her friends in the media will do everything within their power to help create a successful illusion.