Hillary Clinton, Under Increasing Pressure To Face The National Media, Continues To Keep It At An Arm’s Length
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears in no mood to face the press, even as many sections of the national media continue to criticize her for her perpetual evasion.
As Business Insider reports, it has been over 273 days since Clinton held a press conference, and while her aversion to the press is well-documented since her First Lady days, journalists are now beginning to get increasingly exasperated with the antipathy that is on display from the potential U.S. president.
Nomiki Konst, a Democratic strategist and host of The Filter Radio on Sirius XM, has criticized this distancing of the press on the part of Clinton, saying that American voters need to gain more accessibility to someone who aspires to occupy the most powerful political chair in the land.
“Every candidate wants to control their message… but I think it is incredibly uncommon that a candidate who is running for president has not had a press conference in more than 270 days.
“The public has a right to know where she stands on issues. Reporters can’t rely on tweets and press releases and FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to figure out who a candidate is.”
Clinton resisting calls to hold a press conference: She's acting, in some ways, as if she's already president https://t.co/aKdSi6NBrP
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 25, 2016
Konst is not alone in expressing his angst at Hillary Clinton’s continual aversion of the press. In a piece that New York Times’ columnist, Jim Rutenberg, wrote recently, he argued that even the staunchest of anti-press presidential candidates of yesteryear have always traveled with the press, while Hillary Clinton — and indeed her Republican rival Donald Trump — continue to set new precedents during this election season by not allowing members of the press to travel on the same flight as them.
“This is about something much bigger than eyewitness accounts and plane rides. It’s about how much we want to know about each candidate’s plans for the White House, and how open and accessible we want them to be as president. And ultimately, it’s about whether we truly believe in the premise that transparency is vital for democracy.”
Indeed. It is imperative that members of the press are given as much accessibility to the presidential candidate as possible, especially as Hillary Clinton is a nominee who has had trouble in the past when answering questions related to her alleged misuse of the private server, as well as questions surrounding the list of her campaign donors and the Clinton Foundation.
This is not to suggest that Donald Trump has fared any better when it comes to tackling tough questions on his policies on immigration and the state of the American economy, but at least he is not pretending to be the media’s darling either.
It would be worth keeping in mind for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that the one way to increase their favorable ratings among voters is to reach out to them, and the best way to reach out to the public is by reaching out to journalists. In fact, Clinton does not even have to reach out herself to the press either, she only has to acknowledge the validity of the skepticism that pervades in the minds of the journalists trying to keep close to her.Politico‘s Annie Karni, who has attempted to follow Clinton during her campaign trail, draws a first-hand account of Clinton’s attitude towards members of the press during private fundraisers as well as the more public events.
“When she’s speaking at a fundraiser, reporters camped outside can sometimes hear a muffled voice but can rarely make out her actual words. When she’s greeting voters at a coffee shop or on a rope line after a rally, the former secretary of state often looks right through the reporters hovering around her, like they don’t exist. And when she does acknowledge their physical presence, she smiles through the questions barked at her and encourages reporters to sample a coffee, or a chocolate, instead.”
It is time that Hillary Clinton begins to take the press seriously, and understand that the strategy of running out the clock will not be in her best interests. Her campaign has claimed that she will officially begin traveling with journalists from Monday onward, but an understandable level of skepticism still prevails.
“The times she’ll go back and schmooze will be few and far between,” said one Clinton ally on the future of her campaign. “She’ll send other people back there, instead.”
What do you think of Hillary Clinton’s deep-rooted need for secrecy, and her consequent aversion to the press?
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]