Major Garrett of Fox News broke a story on the 9th that revealed that the Hillary Clinton campaign had admitted to planting questions at a Newton, Iowa town hall meeting. Garrett reported that the Clinton campaign promised that planted questions would not happen again, but this isn't something new for the Clinton campaign. Hillary has controlled the media with an iron fist yet few from the media have complained about it. And now, only a few MSM sources seem interested in this tale. Why is this story being ignored by the major media outlets? Worse, why do they allow Clinton to hamstring their ability to cover her without complaint? And, remembering how they reacted in 2005 when they thought the Bush administration planted questions, why are they letting Hillary slip by untouched?
Shouldn't it be big news that a candidate refuses to allow candid questioning on the campaign trail? Of the incident, Garrett says, "In a state where the caucus is held sacred and the impromptu and candid style of the town hall meeting is held dear, Clinton’s planted question may come as a great offense to Iowans." But, Iowans shouldn't be the only ones who should find Clinton's actions disturbing.
If that weren't bad enough, on the 10th, Garrett found another Democrat that reported to him that back in April he had also been approached by the Clinton campaign to ask a canned question at an appearance.
This is a rather unseemly action by the Clinton campaign and a perfect example of her desire to control every aspect of her image and her desire to squelch any sort of independent questioning, even from her supporters, that she has no control over. This is part and parcel to her ruthless control of the media as reported before on Newsbusters (See Here) and as has been seen since she first began to run for Senate. Clinton rarely allows candid interviews, nor submits herself to open forum questions unless she knows the questions ahead of time.
So, the question is, why is the media letting her get away with this? Few of the other media outlets out there are going with the Garrett story and they certainly aren't complaining about her tight control over her appearances and the questions she is asked by the media. In fact, some of them have expressed their admiration of her manipulation of the media. (See this Anne Kornblut storyHere)
Anyway, so far the reporting on this has been quite muted. Now, what sort of reaction would any candidate but Hillary receive at the hands of the MSM if that candidate had planted questions at appearances or had refused to allow the media to ask questions that weren't submitted to them for approval ahead of time? Wouldn't such a candidate deservedly be in for a scolding? After all, how can we trust such a candidate to handle the tough situations they'll face as president if they can't even take a spontaneous question from a supporter at a campaign stop?
Of this newest outrage against open and honest campaigning, Andrew Malcolm mentions the question planting on one of the L.A. Times blogs called Top of the Ticket. The AP also has a small story about it and so did MSNBC on their First Read blog, with the MSNBC blog finding yet another example of the Clinton team trying to plant questions. Also, ABC covered it.
It is early in this story, I suppose, but it seems odd that such an explosive story is not getting legs. Keep your eye on this one to see if it gets more attention. Somehow, though, I feel it will stay on the blogs and not get out wider.
Lastly, I'd like to say this: where is the wacko left who called Bush a "fascist" for his desire to control or ignore the press? Isn't Hillary displaying just such a tendency by refusing to allow the media to ask candid questions of her? Where are all those on the left worried about the media being controlled so?
Now, let’s contrast this situation with how the press reacted when they imagined that the Bush administration “staged” a questions and answer period with soldiers in Iraq in 2005. Newsbusters covered the outrage that the MSM expressed then and it was uproarious, the press (especially the TV media) in high dudgeon over it all.
The story led the NBC Nightly News with host Brian Williams and was featured prominently on ABC and CBS, as well. Naturally, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann also went apoplectic over the supposed "staged" and planted questions. All the papers covered this story, as well. One could not escape the coverage that week, in fact. Further, the news broke that day and was everywhere within hours. This Clinton story is days old and the MSM is barely paying attention.
Of course, it turned out in 2005 that the questions were not planted, it was just that the soldiers gathered were given a chance to practice their on-air efforts while the satellite feed was live making the MSM imagine that it was all a sham spectacle. In other words, the MSM jumped to unsupported conclusions.
Still, the point is they went national and fast with their faux outrage over Bush's supposed question planting. Yet what do they do with Hillary's actual and admitted planting of questions? Where is the outrage and questions of legitimacy for Hillary?
Shhhh. Mums the word.