You may have read or heard that Hillary Clinton held a ‘mini-press conference’ with reporters on Friday. The main part of this short back and forth was not so much what she said or did not say but that she allowed herself even a few unguarded moments with the working press.
The dodging of press conferences is something which I have no time for regardless of candidate or party. Friday’s event, I should be clear about, was not in any way a full-throated press conference but instead the Democratic candidate’s appearance at the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
The most important words were not uttered by Clinton but instead came from Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post.
O’Keefe spoke to the very well-known feelings of the press–and folks such as myself–who want their candidates and elected officials to be forthcoming to the Fourth Estate.
He made that clear when saying, “We encourage you to do this more often with reporters across the country, especially those news organizations that travel the country with you wherever you go.”
Sadly, he didn’t get any response from Clinton to that comment.
I utterly reject the notion that a candidate should be able to pretend the press has no role in our elections or democracy. That is simply a most wrong conclusion.
While I can certainly put my political hat on and see why politicos would want to play the cautious game with the press I can not in any justify such a tactic from the much larger and far more important view of democracy.
I assume–with that political hat on my head–that since Clinton is ahead in the polls her reluctance to answer the questions of those who report the news will be as limited as ever.
But with my view of history and the need voters have to be informed and educated there is no place for Clinton or her campaign staff to hide from the overriding fact that an open and enlightening conversation with the press best serves the needs of the citizenry.