CNN’s Stelter: Media Not Complaining About Hillary’s ‘Press Access’

On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter told Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary Clinton’s communications director, that “there have not been that many complaints about press access with your media, as opposed to prior Clinton campaigns.” 

Stelter seemed to ignore Clinton’s actual limited press, including her infamous moving rope line to separate herself from the media, and did his best to paint a rosy relationship between the Democratic frontrunner and the national media covering her. 

After the CNN host declared that the press has not complained about Clinton’s accessibility, he continued to praise Palmieri for the campaign’s media policy: 

What’s notable right now is that there’s not a lot of noise about media grievances. In the past, there has been. It seems like you’re having a smoother experience with the press so far. 

In contrast with the supposedly objective Stelter’s positive view of the Clinton campaign’s media outreach, Palmieri had a surprisingly more realistic view as she argued that “it didn’t feel that way in the beginning necessarily.”

The Clinton spokesperson then went into spin mode to defend the campaign: 

But it is -- it’s an ongoing -- it’s a work in progress. I think it is a big priority to me that we have a good relationship with the press. What is our fundamental priority is making sure that the campaign is operating the way it needs to and that we’re allowing the press in on top of that and we’re trying to get to -- we still have a lot more work to do to get our relationship with the press where I would like it to be, but we’re making progress. 

Earlier in the interview, Stelter brought up a recent story in the New York Times that erroneously reported on a criminal inquiry into Clinton's use of a private e-mail and the CNN host wondered if the paper had an "agenda, you think, against Hillary Clinton? Some have said the Times views her as secretive, as even corrupt or sleazy, and just seems to be much more aggressive covering her than other candidates."  

Stelter then gave Palmieri a platform to blast the Times' coverage of Clinton before the CNN host eagerly touted her warning to the media: 

I think you’re sending a message to the press. I think you’re trying to say to other news outlets, tread carefully and make sure you have your facts right before you come at this campaign.

See relevant transcript below. 

CNN’s Reliable Sources

August 2, 2015

BRIAN STELTER: Does the Times have an agenda, you think, against Hillary Clinton? Some have said the Times views her as secretive, as even corrupt or sleazy, and just seems to be much more aggressive covering her than other candidates. Do you agree?

JENNIFER PALMIERI: No. That’s not my point. My point is -- my point is that they should be getting it right.

STELTER: In this case, they did not?

PALMIERI: In this case, they -- in this case, they did not. They certainly admit they did not. But, again, because of how not just for the Times but for all papers and news outlets and how fast these headlines spread and understanding the extraordinary amount of interest in Hillary Clinton, we really wanted to -- we just felt like we had to pause and say this is really egregious. Here is how this happened. And hope that it doesn’t happen, you know, not just with the Times in the future, but with other outlets, too.

STELTER: Yes. I think you’re sending a message to the press. I think you’re trying to say to other news outlets, tread carefully and make sure you have your facts right before you come at this campaign.

PALMIERI: And the other thing we hope gets out is, for consumers of news to understand how, you know, to see behind the scenes a little bit how the sausage is made and maybe that they should have -- you know, to be looking at stories with a critical eye, too.

STELTER: If the Times calls as I’m sure they have already, actually, and asked for an interview with Clinton, what would you say? Is she going to be available?

PALMIERI: We certainly would not, you know -- on Tuesday, the first day that Hillary Clinton was out in front of the press after the stories had run, we for media avail, we called on Amy Chozick from the Times, we engaged with them multiple times a day, regularly. You know, we’re not harboring any resentment on our part. We’re just wanting to have it be worked well going forward.

STELTER: And will she be doing for television interviews? She did one with CNN’s Brianna Keilar. Will she be doing more national TV interviews in the coming weeks?

PALMIERI: Yes, I think that we have -- I have two priorities. My top priority is local media, from Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina, and then there’s the people that cover her every day. This is -- I think you’ve seen that she does media avails most days that she travels now, with the people who cover her. That’s -- Brianna covers her, so we’re going to focus on those correspondents first. And then, we’ll branch out from there. That’s what she did in the 2000 Senate race, was really get to know the people that covered her, spend a lot of time with them, let them be our main conduit to the national media. And that’s where we’re starting this time, too.

STELTER: It’s noteworthy, there have not been that many complaints about press access with your media, as opposed to prior Clinton campaigns. What’s notable right now is that there’s not a lot of noise about media grievances. In the past, there has been. It seems like you’re having a smoother experience with the press so far.

PALMIERI: I would say -- it didn’t feel that way in the beginning necessarily.

STELTER: No?

PALMIERI: But it is -- it’s an ongoing -- it’s a work in progress. I think it is a big priority to me that we have a good relationship with the press. What is our fundamental priority is making sure that the campaign is operating the way it needs to and that we’re allowing the press in on top of that and we’re trying to get to -- we still have a lot more work to do to get our relationship with the press where I would like it to be, but we’re making progress. 

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential CNN Reliable Sources Brian Stelter Jennifer Palmieri Hillary Clinton

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