July 15, 2015

Clinton Returns To Ropegate State Amid New Media Angst Stories

Hillary Clinton is returning to New Hampshire Thursday for the first time since she roped off the press like cattle during a parade on July 4.

While that was just the latest in a long list of stories about her contentious relationship with the press, Mark Leibovich published a story this morning in New York Times Magazine that details a few classic Clinton press interactions that demonstrate exactly how deeply this adversarial relationship with the press affects Clinton:

She is wary to a point where the control-freak tendencies of her campaign, especially with regard to how she is portrayed in the press, have reinforced an established story line: that she is sealed off and inaccessible and not like the rest of us. ‘‘DO YOU HAVE A PERCEPTION PROBLEM?’’ a reporter shouted out at her during Clinton’s last visit to New Hampshire, not quite the icebreaker you’d wish for when making reintroductions. As a rule, the media is not Clinton’s preferred confidant. Her campaign at first declined to make her available for an interview. It did offer me an ‘‘off the record’’ meeting, which is highly irregular: an off-the-record sit-down with a profile subject who happens to be running for president, and who is not exactly new to these rodeos. (I demurred on the off-the-record sit-down, at least at first.)

In another example, Leibovich shows the extent to which Clinton’s aides must play a very aggressive form of defense to protect Clinton’s campaign HQ from press scrutiny:

From the outset of the campaign, any hope that Clinton might unveil a more freewheeling style in keeping with the more unplugged sensibilities of today’s political and media culture lasted for all of, well, never. … In June, I visited Clinton’s Brooklyn Heights headquarters to interview Robby Mook, her 35-year-old campaign manager. The meeting had been arranged through Jesse Ferguson, a campaign press minder, who in advance of my arrival sent me an email that said the following: ‘‘The ground rules we’ve had with others in our office is that the office itself is OTR,’’ meaning off the record. ‘‘I don’t want to get into a contest of people tweeting pic from our office to show they were there.’’

Rest assured, this is not normal behavior, but rather the result of a political candidate so scarred by past experiences with the press that she’s resorted to irrational, self-destructive behavior because she believes it’s the best way forward.