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Why the media is getting antsy about Clinton

Why the media is getting antsy about Clinton

With Hillary Clinton's lead narrowing, there is plenty of discussion going on about media tactics in particular. The Clinton campaign has invested heavily in direct communication with voters via social media, podcasts and posting its own news stories. Not surprisingly, all of this has left traditional news media feeling a bit neglected. Is it just sour grapes? Or could keeping reporters at arm's length be hurting her campaign?

Here's an extract from an article by Clare Foran in The Atlantic:

The Clinton media strategy is not necessarily surprising, but it is “highly problematic,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “There’s a tactical advantage to ducking the press when it looks like you are poised to win,” Hall Jamieson said, “but it means that the public is less informed. It can also leave candidates less prepared to respond to tough questions.”

Of course, there are many different ways to meet the media. Clinton does do some interviews – hundreds this year in fact according to her campaign – but has famously not held a mainstream press conference since December. Even some reporters think that may be a wise move, including Tim Fernholz at Quartz:

Political press conferences are pointless, and mostly about media showboating.

This isn’t something reporters are supposed to admit. We’d all like more chances to see a potential presidential candidate on the hot seat. But these days, at these things, the heat isn’t on. I cringe at press conferences more than I learn from them, because they usually degenerate into shout-fests based on questions that are rarely designed to elicit any new information, but rather a response to the other party’s latest talking point.

Meanwhile, those interested in in-depth, one-on-one interactions can only mourn opportunities lost. Here's NYT Magazine chief correspondent Mark Leibovich speaking with two former Obama advisers Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer on their 'Keeping it 1600' podcast last week:

I do wish she would do more long interviews. She would say she has done eight zillion local TV interviews which I know are important but I don't understand what her aversion has been to doing long TV – obviously print would be great – but [at least] some TV interviews, because she is actually quite good in those settings...I would just like to see her out more. I get very sad with the same old lobotomy of on-message orthodoxy that the Clinton campaign has been running for many years now.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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