In a riff on how to create jobs, Clinton made the fairly ordinary point that "if you don't have access to high-speed affordable broadband, which large parts of America do not," large employers will overlook your town. She continued:Clearly, Clinton was expressing concern for people who are left without reliable cell phone and internet access in an age in which we have become dependent on these things.
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, even in towns — so, the president was in Harrisburg. I was in Harrisburg during the campaign, and 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 affordable high-speed Internet.
But, as Weigel details, members of the political press selectively quoted it to make it appear as though Clinton was an out-of-touch elite complaining that she couldn't get cell service in places that didn't vote for her.
"You cannot get cell coverage for mile," Clinton says of the places that voted against her.— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) May 2, 2017
See how that works? And then other members of the press ran with that framing, and, soon, the established narrative was that Clinton was blaming lack of cell phone coverage for losing the election.
When what she had actually been doing was expressing compassion for people in those areas and amplifying their concerns.
This is emblematic of a pattern we saw over and over throughout the election. It is one example, but it is representative of countless iterations of this dynamic.
It is infuriating—and it is a heartbreaking illustration of how media plays a major role in denying people help they need.
That is part of your responsibility here. Your mendacious framing has consequences. It had big consequences in the election. Own up to that.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
I supported HRC as a candidate b/c her policies would have helped people in meaningful ways. And I'm angry that you MISREPRESENTED THAT.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
And now you act like it's NBD. So not a big deal that you're STILL DOING IT. But it was a big deal. People's lives hang in the balance.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
Ask any single person whose life or safety depends on the very meaningful differences you elided between HRC and Trump, b/c "both sides."— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
The problem with the media isn't that many of you observably hate HRC. It's that you allowed that hate to doom people across this nation.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
Get your shit together. You have earned every ounce of the anger directed at you for what you did during this election.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 3, 2017
I want to stress this point: The problem is not that many members of the political press hate Hillary Clinton. It's that they allowed that hatred to doom people across this nation.
It's not great when members of the media who are tasked with accurately reporting on candidates observably hate one of the candidates. But the issue was not the hatred itself: It was people who hated her giving themselves permission to abandon any and all pretense of accuracy and fairness.
And then justifying it on the basis that she was "objectively unlikeable." (Unlike the entertaining Donald Trump, of course.)
One of the primary criticisms of Trump's presidency so far is that he continually prioritizes his own bigotry over what's best for the country. That is a good criticism. It deserves to be made over and over.
I have even seen some members of the political press effectively make that point.
And yet. Some of the same people who can make that point about Trump exhibit precisely the same prioritization of their own bigotry, their misogyny, over what's best for the country, when it comes to Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps it's no wonder that they had a preference for him. They are more like him than they would prefer to believe.