Political coverage

Vintage Books, publishers of Carl Bernstein’s biography of Hillary Clinton ($16 in paper), has sent free copies of the book out to Nevada journalists with a list of citations of favorable information about Clinton in the book and a suggestion that they be brought to the attention of state voters. Samples:

·”Her strong Methodist faith—She was accepted into the Senate’s most exclusive prayer group, a recognition by conservatives of the genuineness of her faith, p. 548.”

·”Her devotion to her daughter—Despite her busy schedule, she was always adamant about making time for Chelsea and seeing that she had a ‘normal’ childhood. p. 149.”

And so on.

This accompanying material, on Vintage letterhead, reads very much like a campaign leaflet. The material is headlined, “Top 10 things that will surprise Nevada voters about Hillary,” suggesting it is designed to influence the Nevada caucuses on Jan. 19. All of which raises the question of whether this shipment of free copies is an in-kind corporate contribution to the Clinton campaign. When we raised the question with Vintage Books publicist Kate Runde, it caused a flurry of activity at the publishing house (an arm of Random House) and produced a statement reading in part:

“We are merely bringing attention to sections of interest in our book that we thought might surprise Nevada readers about Senator Clinton’s life, as per several years’ research by our Pulitzer Prize-winning author. We have had no correspondence with the Hillary ‘08 staff, and are in no way supporting any candidate, one way or another.”