NPR today shows the shallowness of the media-created controversy over Hillary Clinton not answering questions in the three weeks — three weeks!! — since she announced her intention to accept the Democratic Party’s coronation for president.
Given the opportunity to ask a question, the political media punts far too often.
It’s not as if time is running out before the Iowa caucuses, which will be held on Feb. 1. There’ll be plenty of chances to interview Clinton, and ask the same questions everyone else asked the day before. There might even be a debate, in which the political reporters serve as panelists ask the same questions they asked in the previous debate.
She’s answered 13 questions in the last three weeks and NPR’s Tamara Keith documents them all today, including one that came from the Associated Press.
“How are you liking Iowa?”
“I’m having a great time,” Clinton answered.
There were three other questions asked by reporters at a community college event, Keith says.
“Is it good to be back out here again?”
“It is, it’s fabulous. We’re having the best time.”
She was also asked what she’s learned on the campaign trail so far.
“So much good information, so much great exchange about what works, what can work not just here in Iowa, but I think across the country.”
And an Iowa TV reporter asked this one:
“Secretary Clinton what do you think the importance of the Iowa caucus will be in the upcoming election?
“I think it’s important because it’s the first contest and I look forward to getting prepared for it next February.”
All of the answers were lighter than air. But so were the questions. In truth, Iowa isn’t important at all. It’s not heaven. It’s Iowa. It matters every four years if you’re trying to shake the money tree loose in a crowded field (see GOP).
But Iowa has always been a great place for lazy reporting, too. And the national media is already on its game.
Not answering questions can be a long-term land mine for a political candidate, but only if she’s not answering good questions.
Related: The Iowa caucuses are a big fat joke — and Jeb Bush is the only one laughing (The Week).