Kill Hill... Or No Bill
Celebrity Culture and the Campaign
Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.
So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton. Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaign’s demands.
The spiked GQ story shows how the Clinton campaign has been able to use its access to the most important commodity in media — celebrity, and in fact two bona fide celebrities — to shape not just what gets written about the candidate, but also what doesn’t.
There’s nothing unusual about providing extra access to reporters seen as sympathetic, and cutting off those seen as hostile to a campaign. But a retreat of the sort GQ is alleged to have made is unusual, particularly as part of what sources described as a barely veiled transaction of editorial leverage for access.
Politco's Ben Smith reports