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After five years in the wilderness, Huma Abedin is finally getting Beltway buzz again. Abedin has been Hillary Clinton’s shadow since 1996, controlling access, cleaning up gaffes, and plotting Hillary’s rise to the presidency. Huma was flattered with decades of beat-sweetening puff pieces by reporters desperate for an ally in Hillary’s inner circle. In November 2016, the knives came out. Coverage since has been meager and sordid, often focused on her soap-opera marriage to Anthony Weiner.
That all changed Tuesday with Simon and Schuster’s announcement of her new autobiography. Being clever marketers, they dangled an excerpt sure to tantalize gossips in the DC media.
“I ended up walking out with one of the senators, and soon we stopped in front of his building and he invited me in for coffee,” Abedin’s ghostwriter recalled. “Once inside, he told me to make myself comfortable on the couch.”
Then, in an instant, it all changed. He plopped down to my right, put his left arm around my shoulder, and kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth, pressing me back on the sofa.
I was so utterly shocked, I pushed him away. All I wanted was for the last 10 seconds to be erased.
Did she name the senator? No. Thus creating the perfect whodunit for DC reporters and other Beltway gossips — the target market for Abedin’s book. A salacious, unverifiable claim made one week before the pub date; well played, Simon and Schuster.
Googling “Huma Abedin book” now garners 748,000 results; 135,000 on Google News alone.
The publishers were smart enough to make the allegation slightly “newsworthy” so even serious journalists could excuse some coverage.
Abedin writes that she stayed friendly with the senator and soon “buried the incident”, which she wanted to forget, succeeding in erasing it from her mind “entirely”.
Then, in late 2018, Kavanaugh was nominated to the supreme court by Donald Trump. A professor, Christine Blasey Ford, accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a party years earlier, an allegation Kavanaugh denied.
Testifying in the Senate, Ford said the alleged assault “drastically altered” her life, before a therapy session in 2012 led her to do her “best to suppress memories of the assault because recounting the details caused me to relive the experience, and caused panic attacks and anxiety”.
She is the victim, hashtag-me-too. In a way, Brett Kavanaugh is responsible for the “assault” if you really think about it. After all, he likes beer.
The story is a win-win for Abedin, Simon, and Schuster. Unpaid media is the golden calf of public relations. No one needs to figure out who the senator is since it’s old news. Even if some intrepid reporter applies high pressure, they can just throw a random unpopular senator under the bus, preferably one who died years ago.
The story isn’t journalism so much as marketing, like most Beltway stories.Published in