The press has made such a fool of itself mocking Hillary Clinton that neoconservative and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush David Frum wrote Wednesday, “Hillary Clinton makes a perfectly reasonable – generous – point, promptly turned upside down by mockers & scoffers.”
On Twitter Frum wrote above a Dave Weigel article:
Hillary Clinton makes a perfectly reasonable – generous – point, promptly turned upside down by mockers & scoffers https://t.co/0fXJ0KKEfP
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 3, 2017
Dave Weigel made the point in the Washington Post story that Frum linked to that Hillary Clinton campaigned on “world-class broadband” everywhere, so press who mocked her for saying “cannot get coverage for miles” comment in order to tear her apart were symptomatic of why liberals feel the press in 2016 was wildly unfair.
Weigel wrote, “Trump may be the first president whose plunge to 40 percent approval was marked by stories about the voters who still loved him. And Clinton may be the only politician who can talk about the need for rural broadband — at this point, an almost banal priority of rural politicians — and be accused of snobbery.”
Clinton’s full comment:
“If you don’t have access to high-speed, affordable broadband, which large parts of America do not, and not just rural but suburban and urban, but predominantly rural, you are not going to attract the jobs in the 21st century. So why would a private company go into those areas go into those areas when there are not many people and not a big profit margin?
“If you drive around in some of the places that beat the heck out of me, you cannot get cell coverage for miles. And so, you don’t, even in towns — so, the president was in Harrisburg. I was in Harrisburg during the campaign, and after I met with people afterward. One of the things they said to me is that there are places in central Pennsylvania where we don’t have access to high-speed, affordable Internet.”
The irony of elitist media implying that Hillary Clinton is a bitter snob for trying to help rural America should be kind of surprising, but it’s not.
Clinton opponents of all kinds have been trotting this narrative out in full steam post election. They often live in big cities and lecture liberals, like myself for example, who actually live in small town America Trump areas, about our snobbery.
That is to say, the “liberal snob” argument is an ironically smug, dismissive attempt to hijack a Russian-assisted loss for political purposes.
Hillary Clinton’s proposals were in general a ton of a lot better for rural America than what Donald Trump is actually doing. His campaign rhetoric changed by the day, and his policies, when put to paper, were thin at best. His second grade promises to fix everything on day one should have been seen through by anyone who claims to be a political writer.
Frankly, anyone who took Trump’s word over Clinton’s detailed policies is a fool whose judgment can’t be trusted, because it was obvious during the campaign that he not only knew almost nothing about government, but also that he was not open to listening and learning.
Hillary Clinton fought against Citizens United, she fought for healthcare and family leave policies that would have helped working families across the country, and she had a record of policy support for those with the least among us. Her positions were not snobby.
If someone sees “snobby” when Clinton is boring them with her long, detailed policy prescriptions for poor Americans, that is possibly symptomatic of personal projection.
This reflexive frothing at the mouth among the press happens whenever Clinton opens her mouth. It is no wonder she was so paranoid about the press. They have proven once and for all that she was right to be.
I argued during the campaign that Clinton needed to do more press because that is the job of the president, and I stand by that. But that doesn’t mean the press wasn’t guilty then and now of letting their issues with her get in the way of the coverage. The media has skated over this issue and been given a pass due to the immediate and pressing crisis of President Trump trying to undermine the free press.
But it matters. An honest assessment of the 2016 coverage is needed as a post-mortem regarding How This Happened. How did we end up with the public thinking Hillary Clinton’s private server was worse than Donald Trump’s laundry list of ethical, legal, and moral problems?
Hate Clinton personally? Okay. But that shouldn’t impact the facts. And the fact is Clinton didn’t say anything snobby; in fact, as Frum noted, it was a generous comment of concern, which is – in the larger context of Clinton’s career – in line with her policy pushes and positions, so not a surprise. To assume she meant something snobby when she fought for the poor and middle class her entire career doesn’t make sense.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.