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Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign book, “What Happened,” didn’t hit shelves until Tuesday, but for weeks it has been fodder for right-wing news outlets that have eagerly amplified any negative Clinton-related news since President Donald Trump’s poll numbers began to sink earlier this year.
A review of Fox News transcripts showed that since August 23, when an excerpt first leaked, the book has been the subject of more than two dozen segments on Fox News, where many opinion hosts have seemed eager to discuss it.
“Greg, do you think Hillary Clinton realizes she is not helping herself, she is just becoming the punch line?” correspondent Lisa Boothe asked on “The Five” last week.
“I am starting to look forward to this book,” host Greg Gutfeld said.
Conservatives and many on the right online have cheered Clinton’s return as well.
The far-right provocateur and occasional conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich said he was “hyped” for Clinton’s book, while InfoWars blogger Paul Joseph Watson has shared articles about Democratic infighting over it.
The National Review said Clinton’s book proved she “cares more about herself than her party,” while The Weekly Standard published a parody transcript of the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responding to passages of Clinton’s book.
Former Breitbart News spokesman Kurt Bardella described Clinton as a uniting force for Republicans and the conservative media at a moment when Trump was at war with the establishment GOP.
“When Hillary Clinton emerges, it unites Republicans around the only thing they seem to agree on – they are anti-Hillary Clinton,” Bardella said. “At a time when Trump is the focal point of a brewing GOP civil war, why would you put forward the one person who has a unifying effect on the Republican Party?”
The book added fuel to a fire that doesn’t need much kindling.
Though Clinton has said she will not seek higher office again, conservative media sites have diligently covered her past scandals, including her use of a private email server almost a year after James Comey, then the FBI director, said Clinton did not break any laws by using the account.
Encouraged by Trump’s tweet on the subject, outlets like Breitbart News and Fox News have extensively covered a letter from two Republican lawmakers saying Comey drafted a statement stating Clinton’s innocence before investigators had interviewed her. That such a move is standard practice for many in the law-enforcement community has not deterred news coverage of the topic on the right.
Still, conservative media outlets have compounded the left-wing grumbling about Clinton’s new book.
Though some on the left say Clinton has a right to tell her story of the election and offer in-depth explanations of her actions to her millions of followers, many have publicly and privately lamented the launch and tour of the book, which ironically stops in Wisconsin, a state Clinton did not campaign in and lost in an upset.
“I love Hillary,” Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota said. “I think she has a right to analyze what happened. But we do have to move on.”