Sunday, August 21, 2016

If the Media Wants a Hillary Presser Here are the Conditions

The media is taking its marching orders from Donald Trump again. The Trump team has decided to make an issue of the fact that Hilary has not given a presser since December.

Now she has given many interviews since. And this is based on the media's finicky definition of a presser. She actually gave one a few weeks ago to mostly black journalists but the media while criticizine her email responses, also decided that diddn't count as it didn't 'feel like a presser' whatever that means.

Oliver Willis-of Media Matters:

"The journalists have all decided hrc has to has a press conference or the election doesnt count."

"ive never seen them this concerned about press conferences. *shrug*

Reason for this are twofold:

1. Donald Trump's been making this a huge campaign issue lately, which kind of shows you the meagerness of his own campaign if this is what he's running on.

2. The rules are always much stricter when it's regarding Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major party, no matter how 'post gender' the media pretends 2016 is.

Back to Willis:

"also there's a thing going on where journalists are pretending clinton not having a press conference is same as not speaking to press."

"if clinton wasnt speaking to press their complaints would be valid but theyre actually complaining about *the format* of her press interact."

"Again, it's not that she doesn't speak to the press, but she doesn't do it in exactly the terms they want her to.

"same media folks complained in 2012 that obama was talking to black and latino radio hosts instead of them."

Meanwhile, there's Donald Trump who has banned many media outlets.

"and theyre doing so in context of gop nominee almost exclusively only speaking to one outlet for some time now as well."

I agree there's nothing worse than when the media gets all groupthinkinky.

"when the media gets all groupthinky like this its annoying. like the whole "why doesnt obama gladhand w boehner more" jones they had."

Matt Yglesias:

"The tragedy of this election is that since Hillary won't do a press conference it is impossible for anyone to learn her views on the issue"

As if the media gives a hoot about policy. They want to ask her about her emails, why no one likes her, demonize the Clinton Foundation, etc. All of which they can do with or without a presser.

Yglesias makes a crucial point:

"The good news is that Trump's broad availability to the media has made the contours of his policy agenda crystal clear for all to see."

Exactly, If the point of all this is to talk about policy, then Trump's press availability has been a failure.

Ok, so can we get real here? Obviously while the media claims more pressers are in the public good the truth is that more pressers are mostly in the interest of the media.

"Print journos having no idea what their role is in digital world, whining bc their role in narrative is now marginalized."

That's a big part of this. It's not that without a presser we can't learn where the candidates stand; indeed, as Yglesias points out, if Trump does more pressers, we learn nothing from them as he lies and dissembles so much, whereas Hillary's views are very well known.

What it's about is print journalists are frustrated. But as Brian Stelter admitted this morning on Reliable Sources, from Hillary's standpoint, there's nothing to gain from more pressers: she's winning. When you're up by double digits in the third quarter you don't need to be so aggressive.

In many ways as was noted recently by Ezra Klein, Hillary has followed the 'No Drama, Obama' playbook of 2008 and 2012. In the 2012 campaign, Obama didn't give many of the sort of pressers the media wants either.

Again, nothing to gain from it. As the economists tell us, people respond to incentives. So what is the incentive for Hillary to offer a presser?
For Stelter and friends, in their mind she should allow them to bully her into it.

In the minds of the Hillary hating pundits they will keep attacking her along with the Trump team until she 'has to give a presser.' Then they will, of course, take something she said out of context and blow it up into some huge thing though it's probably another nothingburger about emails.

But why does she have to bow to the pressure? I'd argue that to get something you have to give something.

If the press and Donald Trump want a Hillary presser so bad they have to give her something in return. After all, if she did a presser in the media's terms, it would please them and Trump and allow both to gloat that Hillary was bullied into caving.

What does she get from all this? Probably another hit piece from Maureen Dowd, Chris Cilliazza, et. al.

So here are the terms I think Hillary should offer to give a presser.
If these terms are met, she should do one that meets the special specifications of the press in terms of being truly 'national' and free floating.

In exchange she gets two things in return:

1. Donald Trump releases his tax returns. All of them and not summaries. He should release all the years that Hillary and Tim Kaine did. This is not negotiable. If the media gets to define what a press conference is or isn't, she gets to define what it means for Trump to truly show transparency. He doesn't get to just do a two year summary but many years of full tax returns.

Any notes regarding his alleged audits should be released.

Now, an obvious objection is: Trump will never agree to this. Probably true, but then Hillary is under no obligation to do a media approved presser. Why does he get to flout norms so flagrantly yet she has to dutifully cross every 't' and dot ever 'i?'

2. The other requirement for Hillary doing a media approved presser: CNN has to stop paying Corey Lewandowski while Donald Trump continues to pay him.

Maybe Brian Stelter could discuss why he thinks it's ok for his network to pay a guy who's still a major player in the Trump campaign.

Anyway, if Trump and CNN can't agree to this, they don't want a Hillary presser that badly. 

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