Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign is a mere 37 days old, but it’s been 28 days — four full weeks — since the candidate last deigned to answer a substantive question from the media. Earlier today during yet another orchestrated and banal campaign event, Hillary mused that she “might” consider answering media questions at some point in the future.
“I’ll have to ponder it,” she said about the prospect of answering questions from reporters, to adoring laughs from the crowd of Clinton plants in the audience. “I will put it on my list for due consideration.”
How gracious. Nothing says “accountability” like joking about your complete unwillingness to subject yourself to even the slightest amount of scrutiny.
You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the Clinton media operation here. They know that their candidate is unlikable, that she has no charisma, and no ability to connect on a personal level with most voters. They know she is grating. They know she is no Bill Clinton. What she lacks in raw political ability she makes up for with raw political ambition. It is that animation, that desire for political power, that keeps the Hillary engine running, day after day. The Clinton operation knows this, and it’s why the campaign is so desperate to protect her from scrutiny and to avoid any and all opportunities for unscripted conversation.
There’s a simple solution to this problem. There’s a very simple way to incentivize Hillary to do the unthinkable and *gasp* answer questions from those whose job it is to solicit information from candidates for public office: ignore her entirely.
As political consultant Rick Wilson noted in an extended Twitter rant this morning, media coverage is the oxygen that keeps candidacies alive. Without it, they suffocate and die. Yes, paid media in the form of massive ad buys is important, but it’s nothing compared to the power of earned media. In politics, you only matter if you’re on the news. And if you’re not on the news or in the newspapers, you’re a nobody. And nobodies don’t get elected president.
Hillary desperately needs coverage of her painfully scripted and obviously inauthentic campaign events with the kinds of normal people she goes out of her way to avoid when not seeking office. She knows that America wants to see a friendly grandmother, not a conniving, corrupt, cynical career cuckquean trying to claw her way into office. That image can only be portrayed via coverage of her official campaign events. So if reporters and their news bureaus and TV networks want her to start answering questions, they should institute an immediate blackout of all her campaign events.
17/ You'd decline to cover it until they start to play ball. You know full-well how the transactional nature of this works.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 19, 2015
Pull the reporters off the plane and off the bus. No more TV cameras at her events. No more wire or pool coverage of her stilted campaign Q-and-A sessions. No more front-page stories about this or that Iowa event. No more cut-and-paste coverage of canned, calculated quotes.
If that doesn’t work, then you don’t just continue the blackout. You replace the column space, the pixels, the TV time that you would’ve spent on Hillary’s campaign events with wall-to-wall coverage of Hillary’s scandals. What happened to the e-mails? Why was Hillary paying a nutcake war profiteer who’d already been banned by the White House to give her advice on foreign policy? Why did Hillary approve a massive uranium boondoggle for one of her tax-exempt group’s biggest donors? Why did Hillary refuse to disclose millions in donations she received from foreign governments while she was serving as the U.S. Secretary of State?
It wouldn’t take long. Maybe a few days. But by blacking out coverage of her campaign and replacing it with coverage of the myriad ongoing Clinton cash and corruption scandals, the Hillary campaign would quickly change its tune. Getting deprived of positive media oxygen is one thing. Having that oxygen used to fan the flames of scandal night after night is another thing entirely. Her campaign couldn’t survive a month with that kind of coverage, let alone another year and a half.
There’s no question that this tactic would force Hillary to start answering questions. The only question is whether the American political media establishment has any real desire to do so. Do they really want answers to the tough questions, or do they just want her to have the appearance of openness and accountability? Only time will tell.