Jonathan Allen in Vox spells out what I’ve been trying to tell you for years: Yes, there really are different rules for covering the Clintons. Read the whole thing and prepare yourself for the next two years:
The Clinton rules are driven by reporters’ and editors’ desire to score the ultimate prize in contemporary journalism: the scoop that brings down Hillary Clinton and her family’s political empire. At least in that way, Republicans and the media have a common interest.
I understand these dynamics well, having co-written a book that demonstrated how Bill and Hillary Clinton used Hillary’s time at State to build the family political operation and set up for their fourth presidential campaign. That is to say, I’ve done a lot of research about the Clintons’ relationship with the media, and experienced it firsthand. As an author, I felt that I owed it to myself and the reader to report, investigate, and write with the same mix of curiosity, skepticism, rigor, and compassion that I would use with any other subject. I wanted to sell books, of course. But the easier way to do that — proven over time — is to write as though the Clintons are the purest form of evil. The same holds for daily reporting. Want to drive traffic to a website? Write something nasty about a Clinton, particularly Hillary.
As a reporter, I get sucked into playing by the Clinton rules. This is what I’ve seen in my colleagues, and in myself.
It’s long, so I’ll just give you the headings:
1) Everything, no matter how ludicrous-sounding, is worthy of a full investigation by federal agencies, Congress, the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and mainstream media outlets.
2) Every allegation, no matter how ludicrous, is believable until it can be proven completely and utterly false. And even then, it keeps a life of its own in the conservative media world.
3) The media assumes that Clinton is acting in bad faith until there’s hard evidence otherwise.
4) Everything is newsworthy because the Clintons are the equivalent of America’s royal family.
5) Everything she does is fake and calculated for maximum political benefit.
I strongly urge you to go read the whole thing.