Days After Relaunch, Hillary Campaign’s Press Relations Already Hits New Low
Just two days into Hillary Clinton‘s re-relaunched presidential run, the campaign has already dealt a self-inflicted wound to its precarious relationship with the press.
Rather than send fifty reporters from fifty news outlets to a given event, press organizations typically set up “pools” of reporters who take turns attending events and filing pool reports of what happened. But on Monday, the designated print pool reporter, The Daily Mail’s David Martosko, was denied access to all pooled campaign events.
The campaign’s denial comes after weeks of negative, tabloidish coverage from the conservative UK-based outlet. Most recently, Martosko critiqued many of his fellow reporters’ coverage of Saturday’s re-re-relaunch, tweeting, “It’s truly astonishing how many journalists at the @Hillaryclinton speech today reported exactly, and only, what the campaign wanted them to.”
The Daily Mail is a conservative-leaning tabloid. Everyone knows that. Everyone in the press pool knows that, especially the reporters Martosko not-so-subtly swiped on Saturday. If Martosko had filed an overtly biased, false, or substandard pool report, he would faced the ire of the dozen or so other political reporters who strongly rely on his reporting.
But instead, the Clinton campaign made Martosko the victim. They screwed over not just the conservative journalist, but a dozen other reporters as well. A campaign plagued by allegations that it is inaccessible to press fed into that narrative by overtly denying access to a reporter that other print outlets were more than happy to send as their representative. And as Politico’s Dylan Byers points out, the denial of access comes one day after the pool “threw a fit” when Clinton staffers kept them away from a conversation Hillary had with everyday Iowans.
Clinton ought to have taken a note from President Barack Obama‘s “War on Fox” back in 2009. Traditional and liberal news outlets were more than happy to keep mum as Obama and his staff openly questioned the legitimacy of Fox News and issued a general no-interview policy. But when the administration tried to exclude their reporters from pool events, the other networks defended Fox News and told the administration they had gone too far.
It’s basically a given that the Clinton campaign will receive negative coverage from conservative-leaning outlets. On the other side of the aisle, Republican politicians have long understood that they’ll never get a fair shake from many/most national outlets. But only Hillary and her thin-skinned staffers treat such negative coverage as utterly unacceptable and worthy of retaliation.
By and large, national outlets are more than happy to ignore when conservative outlets are snubbed or the victims of unfair retaliation (just ask the Washington Free Beacon). But Hillary inconvenienced “respectable” outlets– the very same outlets her re-re-re-relaunch hoped to sway– earning negative coverage from the like of liberal outlets like The Guardian. And if 2008 proved anything, it’s that those are precisely the outlets that make or break Democratic campaigns.
[Image via Clinton campaign video]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org