New ‘On the Record’ Hammers Hillary for Ducking Full-Blown Pressers for Small Plane Gaggles

As many news consumers and political junkies know by now, longtime Fox News Channel (FNC) Greta Van Susteren departed the network on Monday (while CNN’s Brian Stelter suggested she was forced out after a dispute over her desire to leave) and so the classy, steady journalist and former Special Report host Brit Hume was appointed to oversee her On the Record program from Tuesday through Election Day. 

While discussing Hillary Clinton actually taking questions from reporters, Hume and guests A.B. Stoddard of Real Clear Politics and Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner hammered Clinton for ducking the unpredictably of a formal news conference in favor of gaggles with adoring and friendly reporters aboard her new press plane. 

Hume broached the subject upon hearing soundbites from both Clinton and Donald Trump speaking to reporters on their respective planes and wondered: “[W]hat about the effect of this decision by Secretary Clinton to come back and talk on the airplane? It didn't look like she had any trouble with the sessions.”

Ferrechio responded by properly noting that “the media is not exactly pressing her a lot on the e-mail or the foundation issues” as while “[t]hey are peppering here with these questions here and there, but mostly, they’re pretty friendly to her” as she explained has been the norm for those invited aboard a candidate’s plane. 

“It wasn’t like they were nailing her with question after question about the e-mail, which would have been unflattering thing and she wouldn't have continued the next day. I can guarantee it,” she added.

Stoddard took it from a policy perspective and pointed out that Clinton still lacks legitimate answers to questions about her scandals just as Trump “filibusters around” when asked about concrete policies: “I think that hiding was bad for her. I think she doesn't have a good answer for why she stowed government records on a rogue server that was vulnerable to hacking. She has no good answers for what she did.”

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Soon after, Ferrechio implored people to understand how “[i]t's really important to know” that question and answers aboard planes for candidates are “more controlled” because “[y]ou are dealing with a known group of people who are almost vetted because the campaign itself decides who gets on those planes” and who doesn’t.

Later on before commercial break, Hume seemed to comically wonder if Hillary Clinton “really [has] anything to fear from a full-blown, full-dressed news conference” to which Ferrechio was ready with the answer (spoiler alert: she does because they go horribly wrong):

I think so because you’re bringing people who don’t travel, don't have the money to travel with campaigns like conservative outlets who are not traveling with the campaigns. It's a bigger group of people. It’s a little more unruly, I would say, when you have these big general press conferences. The last one she had, with the famous press conference from when was it? December of 2015, I think that was when she said what do you mean? Wipe it with a cloth? How long did that meme carry on, you know, damaging her over the months? So, I think that it didn’t go well.

The relevant portion of the transcript from FNC’s On the Record with Brit Hume on September 6 can be found below.

FNC’s On the Record with Brit Hume
September 6, 2016
7:23 p.m. Eastern

BRIT HUME: Okay, panel, setting aside for a moment the veracity of what either candidate said, what about the effect of this decision by Secretary Clinton to come back and talk on the airplane? It didn't look like she had any trouble with the sessions. 

A.B. STODDARD: Right.

SUSAN FERRECHIO: Right. Well, you know, the media is not exactly pressing her a lot on the e-mail or the foundation issues. They are peppering here wit these questions here and there, but mostly, they’re pretty friendly to her and I will say, generally the press can be friendly to the candidate when they're traveling on the same plane. That is the case with Mitt Romney as well when I was on that campaign plane, so I’m not saying they’re showing an overt bias, but it wasn’t like they were nailing her with question after question about the e-mail, which would have been unflattering thing and she wouldn't have continued the next day. I can guarantee it, so as long as it continues to be, you know, a positive thing for her when she can talk about the issues and look presidential and sound like she has more detailed plans and that Donald trump is not fit for the presidency, we will probably see her continue with these. 

HUME: What do you think, A.B.? 

STODDARD: I think that hiding was bad for her. I think she doesn't have a good answer for why she stowed government records on a rogue server that was vulnerable to hacking. She has no good answers for what she did, but, actually, Donald Trump usually doesn't give an answer in any of his multiple interviews, either. He filibusters around and circles around and talks about polls or whatever he wants to when he’s asked about ISIS. He just answers what he wants to. If she’s there and she continues to say I’ve held press conferences seven of the last nine days and taken a punch of questions on the foundation, it's going to be better for her. 

FERRECHIO: But notice that she has them on campaign plane. I need to make this point. It's really important to know this. It's more controlled. You are dealing with a known group of people who are almost vetted because the campaign itself decides who gets on those planes. 

HUME: Well, up to a point. I mean —

FERRECHIO: Up to a point. No, they have a say. They can look at an organization and say well, we don't have room for you. 

STODDARD: Because the Trump campaign has banned The Washington Post and other —

FERRECHIO: And both campaigns have done this over the years. It's not just new this year, so if she was at a general press conference when they would not have that control, it wouldn’t have been as flattering. 

HUME: Well, let me ask you about that. So, she has little short sessions with the press which is open to anybody can ask anything, right? I mean, there were no restrictions

STODDARD: Yeah. 

FERRECHIO: Right.

HUME: And they have as you heard, they did ask some challenging questions about these issues. Does she really have anything to fear from a full-blown, full-dressed news conference? 

FERRECHIO: I think so because you’re bringing people who don’t travel, don't have the money to travel with campaigns like conservative outlets whoa re not traveling with the campaigns. It's a bigger group of people. It’s a little more unruly, I would say, when you have these big general press conferences. The last one she had, with the famous press conference from when was it? December of 2015, I think that was when she said what do you mean? Wipe it with a cloth? How long did that meme carry on, you know, damaging her over the months? So, I think that it didn’t go well.

HUME: Yeah, that's still — that’s still ricocheting around out there. 

FERRECHIO: I think that's why reason on the plane. I don't know if she will eventually move them somewhere else, but that’s my view.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Fox News Channel On the Record Washington Examiner Video Government & Press A.B. Stoddard Brit Hume Hillary Clinton
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