Maybe I shouldn’t over-emphasize one news outlet’s handling of yesterday’s Hillary Clinton presser at the UN, but when Politico‘s Editor-in-Chief chooses to weigh in with an assessment of her attitude towards the press as “Go To Hell,” it reads like a virtual declaration of war, or at least fair warning that she can expect more of the hostile treatment she perceives.

John Harris even expresses some sympathy for Clinton’s feelings, though not in a way that really matters:

How essentially combative was Clinton? The main piece of news to emerge from the session was her confusingly worded disclosure that she has already deleted the emails that she believes are no one’s business but her own.

Go to hell is not typically a sentiment expressed by politicians on the brink of a presidential campaign. But in Hillary Clinton’s case, it reflects a sincerely held belief that has been nearly a quarter-century in the making. Even Clinton opponents would have to acknowledge that she has some very good reasons for thinking the way she does.

The same sort of drama, with news conferences and investigations and the uncomfortable blurring of public and private, has played out during literally dozens of episodes over the years—on such seemingly disparate matters as the Clinton marriage, a West Wing suicide, their White House travel office, their efforts to reform health care, their campaign fundraising. The common theme is the tension between privacy, which Hillary Clinton prizes, and a conviction among journalists and others in the political class that those in high public office (or aspiring to it), like the Clintons, should be prepared to surrender nearly all of it.

So now, you see, it’s not just Clinton’s deeds or misdeeds, real or suspected, that are important “stories,” but also her attitude towards her media tormenters. I can see no way this doesn’t wind up dragging the whole political world down the rabbit hole into perceptions of perceptions of perceptions.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.