Over the July 4th weekend, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was photographed in New Hampshire roping off reporters like wild animals during public campaign events. The former First Lady was widely mocked across social media for her press herding strategy. Several major media organizations even noticed how absurd the treatment was:
Hillary Clinton panned for parade media rope line; aides defend it as balance between breathing room, access http://t.co/Qheoqxut6C
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) July 6, 2015
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 5, 2015
Clinton to press: "It puts the camera in the basket." https://t.co/6ZFdDgn8Hx
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 4, 2015
It was a truly embarrassing spectacle, but not for Hillary Clinton. It was embarrassing for the press, because they willingly allow this nonsense to keep happening. It almost appears as though America’s political media are suffering from something approaching Battered Reporter Syndrome: yeah, she tied us up, but only once; she still respects us.
Hillary’s strategy in the face of an all-too-compliant media makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t she abuse and disrespect them if they’re just going to stand there and take it? She has every reason in the world to keep doing this to them. Thus far, the Clinton campaign’s strategy of either ignoring reporters entirely or using them to broadcast blatantly manipulated nonsense is working pretty well. If campaign reporters are going to allow themselves to be led around like leashed preschoolers on a field trip to the museum, Hillary would be crazy to not treat them like leashed preschoolers on a field trip to the museum.
Barely two weeks ago, Hillary’s campaign was in the news for refusing to let a reporter use the bathroom. Then, out of pure spite, her campaign banned the official pool reporter from being able to cover the campaign. Before that, the architect of Obama’s failed Russian reset policy was cited for refusing to take a single question from a campaign journalist for an entire month.
And then there’s that whole story about deliberately destroying official records while under federal subpoena in order to avoid any public disclosure of documents linking Hillary’s official duties as Secretary of State to her cash-collecting duties as the head of a non-profit crime syndicate. The press devoured Nixon for the missing 18 minutes of tape, yet 30,000+ destroyed e-mails don’t even rate a question shouted from the roped-off press pen.
The problem isn't Hillary creating a rope line to keep press contained. It's the press' willing acquiescence to such demeaning subjugation.
— Will Antonin (@Will_Antonin) July 4, 2015
The reason this nonsense keeps happening is because the press allows this nonsense to keep happening. There’s an easy way to make it stop, though: just stop covering her campaign. Stop pretending that anything that happens at her painfully orchestrated campaign events has any importance whatsoever. Stop reprinting garbage quotes from her garbage press aides. If the media wants to be treated like human beings instead of livestock, they need to actually start using their brains like human beings.
Campaign reporters actually have far more leverage than they think in this situation. Hillary desperately needs them to broadcast every fake interaction and reprint every schmaltzy quote. It’s the only way she can come across as an even remotely normal person, as opposed to the secretive, corrupt, and cloistered oligarch that she actually is. It’s why she can’t even be honest about her favorite flavor of ice cream.
Hillary’s press shop knows this. They know she’s completely incapable of relating to normal people. It’s precisely her press staff are so terrified of allowing her to answer tough questions from no-nonsense reporters. They know she’ll wither under the weakest of spotlights.
But until the press collectively grows a pair and starts acting the way a free press in a free country is supposed to act, Hillary will continue to disrespect them, mistreat them, rope them off and treat them like dopes. Don’t blame Hillary for that, though. Blame the reporters who keep letting it happen.