Hillary Clinton’s Media Problem

It’s Going To Get Bigger By November For Clinton

By Thomas Fernandez, Managing Editor

For those thinking that Hillary Clinton is running a solid campaign, they may want to take a closer look.

While Clinton is not having the struggles that her opponent Donald Trump has, she isn’t without her flaws as any voter is willing to tell you. From each of the crises involving emails to the latest Clinton Foundation scandal—Clinton does have her own problems.

Like Donald Trump, she also has problems with the media. Of course, hers don’t involve blasting the media television shows and calling its programming “sad” but Clinton’s problem, like her campaign, is a bit more nuanced. It’s pretty much two-fold.

The first being her avoidance to press conferences. It’s been over 250 days since she has done a legitimate press conference where she would have to answer on the spot questions about her campaign, her opponent and of course the email situations, there seems to be a lot of them. It’s no question that Clinton is smart to avoid the press—it’s in her best interest but it’s definitely not a good look.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli,  Libya

A candidate’s ability on trustworthiness, which Clinton is sorely lacking with the polls as CNN had a poll in July which had her at 68 percent of people find her untrustworthy, is predicated on their ability to be honest. Press conferences are an opportunity for that to happen. They put a candidate in an non-scripted place where they may not know the answers to the questions being asked.

Would Clinton get asked the hard questions?

Of course she will but the real question, and one that may or may not help voters, is whether or not she can answer them when put on the spot. Her avoidance of press conferences like the Wicked Witch avoiding water is a big story line until she finally decides to have a press conference.

On the other hand, the Clinton campaign would like to let the voters know they aren’t avoiding the media. They have done a lot of interviews in their mind, but they’ve also controlled the medium and controlled the message. Clinton has hopped on radio interviews and hosted her own podcast—nothing like a press conference.

Per NPR, Clinton has done 350 interviews. From those interviews, NPR found out that most of them were television interviews. However, she did spend 65 of those interviews with persons that NPR did not classify as journalists and she also did not do a lot of print interviews.


Again, it’s all about controlling the message, something which Clinton will need to do if she wants to “run out the clock” against Donald Trump.

“I think at some fundamental level she’s nervous about the spontaneous give-and-take of news conferences, fearful of their potentially anarchic nature, afraid of somehow losing control,” Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland said in an interview with Politico. “Not that she should be—she’s smart and knowledgeable and good on her feet. But she clearly doesn’t enjoy the journalistic parry-and-thrust the way FDR and JFK and her husband did.”

Whether or not Clinton enjoys it or doesn’t isn’t up for debate. At this point, it would not be in her best interest to hold a press conference—even though it’s killing her in the polls—because in the Clinton campaign’s mind it’s all a waiting game.

The second problem is how the Associated Press is handling the Clinton Foundation story. While Clinton can’t control the AP and it’s report of how she met with donors while as Secretary of State, she does have to do some damage control on this situation.

Hillary Clinton

For those who don’t know, the AP has reported: At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

However, there are other media outlets taking issue with the reporting and presentation of this story. The AP only analyzed 154 of the thousands of meetings Clinton had in her time as Secretary of State. Also, these 154 meetings were the only ones made available by the State Department so far.

“They took a small sliver of her tenure as secretary of state, less than half the time, less than a fraction of the meetings, fewer than I think 3 percent, the number they’ve looked at of all the meetings,” Clinton chief strategist Joel Benenson told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “This is a woman who met with over 17,000 world leaders, countless other government officials, public officials in the United States. And they’ve looked at 185 meetings and tried to draw a conclusion from that.”

Clinton hasn’t commented on the AP’s story and yet again—no press conference. The question is eventually, she is going to have to answer questions in an uncontrolled environment and is she going to be ready?

Hillary Clinton has a media problem and even if her opponent is going off the deep end, this problem isn’t going to go away.

Thomas Fernandez is the managing editor for Sports Talk Florida and News Talk Florida. He started his career in media by covering the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After covering the NHL for two years, he hopped on board the news cycle and has been covering both sports and news for the last year. He has covered major sporting events as well as politics which affects the Florida audience. Thomas is a Tampa native and graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor of arts in Public Relations.