Too Many Journalists Are Still In Denial About Their Role In Defeating Hillary Clinton
If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them
Just when you thought we’d only be talking about the potential for nuclear war or a government shutdown, here we are again. The election blame game. I hate to see it, but when I do, I can’t help but roll my sleeves up and play it.
Recently, there’s been a civil war within journalist-Twitter. The release of a new book called, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” has reignited the never-ending debate surrounding who is to blame for Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss to Donald Trump. The book itself paints a picture of a campaign plagued with infighting, chaos, and uncertainty. It ultimately pins her election loss primarily on her campaign. Important to note that Clinton aides have pushed back on the book. Regardless of the veracity of the book (or lack thereof), it’s led many in the media to latch onto the details within it, in an attempt to absolve themselves of their role in helping defeat Hillary Clinton. Some are even openly blaming the loss entirely on Clinton’s campaign (I’m looking at you Chris Cillizza. Your takes are trash. Stop writing). To put this bluntly, that is complete BS and some journalists like Nate Silver have been blatantly calling this out.
The case that the Comey letter-or the media's handling of the letter-cost Clinton the election is painfully obvious. https://t.co/xDGspbTQLu
While others continue to deflect.
No! They were flawless! If only the media hadn't set up her private email server! Or the media hadn't made her not have a message! https://t.co/iwsNeeVNdm
To blame the 2016 election loss of Hillary Clinton solely on the Clinton campaign, would be like pointing to a house that was taken down by a 200 mph tornado and saying “it collapsed only because it had weak infrastructure.” In Clinton’s case, the tornado that took down her campaign was a whirlwind of Russian propaganda, a Comey letter, and a stubborn Senator from Vermont who did nothing to heal the divisions he sowed during the primary. This tornado was given a clear path by a media that mishandled every facet of the forces working against Hillary Clinton. And now, hacks like Cillizza are busy talking about the mishaps within the campaign, with absolutely no mention of the tornado. Does that make any sense?
Let me be clear. I am in no way saying Hillary Clinton’s campaign was perfect. There were mistakes made. What I am saying, is this: To point at mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the main reason why she lost is narrow-minded, dim-witted, and displays a shocking lack of big picture thinking.
She didn’t reach out to working class whites, they say. But she didn’t go to Wisconsin, they cry. I’m sorry, but those factors (debatable within themselves) were not what brought about her loss to Donald Trump.
How can anyone ignore the fact that there was an intricate propaganda campaign, coordinated by a foreign adversary, targeting Clinton’s campaign? And that the media, in many cases, helped propagate that propaganda?
How can anyone ignore the fact that while all eyes were on Clinton’s email scandal, the real story of potential Trump-Russia collusion was right in front of us?
How can anyone ignore the fact that while the media (with the exception of David Fahrenthold) was digging into the Clinton Foundation’s “perception” problem, the very real Trump Foundation self-dealing scandal was hiding in plain sight?
How can anyone ignore the fact that the Comey letter, and subsequent botched coverage of said letter, significantly hurt Clinton’s campaign 2 minutes before the buzzer?
How can anyone ignore the fact that the media harshly covered Hillary Clinton like they were vetting the next President of the United States, and treated Donald Trump like the kid in the back of the class who gets an A for effort?
All of this was obvious, and yet it is not widely accepted history. Why is it important to make sure this point is hammered in? Because if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them. A media that continues to feed into their worst impulses is a detriment to our democracy.
The chase for ratings. The obsession with being first. False equivalency. Double standards. A habit built by decades of negative Clinton coverage they just couldn’t break. All of these themes plagued the 2016 election coverage, causing the forces working against Clinton to be too difficult to overcome. We broke this down extensively in Rantt’s debut editorial, but obviously it needs to be rehashed. Read it if you want to dive back into the rude awakening that was the 2016 election. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to writing about the current administration. I hope everyone else in the media does the same.