Media frustrated Clinton won’t answer stupid questions

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.

  1. Listen NPR: The 13 Questions Hillary Clinton Has Answered From The Press

    May 13, 2015

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).

  • All those “Gotcha” questions thrown at her such as, “What’s your favorite color?”

  • Gary F

    Come on Bob, she is the “smartest woman in the world”! Why would she have an opinion on the foreign trade deal being worked on, or the Iran nuclear treaty, or the number of people not in the labor force, or the anemic economic growth of the nation, or lots of other stuff going on.

    But then, this is real journalism….

    • Pathetic. The ongoing question is whether we get the horse race stupidity and sideshows because that’s what we click on and watch, or do we click on it and watch it because that’s all that’s provided to us?

      I like watching PBS NewsHour each night. They do a good job examining significant issues and provide good background. But I’m under no illusion that I’m in the majority of Americans, especially the red meat crowd, which seems more caught up in theater than substance.

      • Gary F

        The media will be the story for this Presidential election.

        Just ask yourself, how would the the Clinton Foundation story be covered by the media if it were the Walker, Rubio, Cruz, Bush Foundation?

      • Postal Customer

        It’s a good show, but sometimes I notice that whoever runs their twitter feed (and their website) isn’t always as thoughtful as Gwen / Judy / etc.

  • Postal Customer

    Bring it on. The clown car debates doomed them last time.

  • Nick K

    Reading the article that was linked to, we can see that there were 2 questions on campaign finance reform, 1 question on trade, 1 question on the Clinton Cash book, and 2 questions about running a staged campaign. So 6 of the 13 questions that the media has managed to ask are fairly substantive. I wouldn’t go so far to say the reporters here are hitting homeruns, but they aren’t quite the bumbling bubble-heads this post implies.

    • Half of them are. But you’re assuming we haven’t seen the political media in Iowa before. Or that we haven’t witnessed the dull, predictable, easily manipulated line of questioning in debates. Or that the horse race in all of its irrelevance, which matters mostly to the insiders, is the dominate topic for the bulk of the campaign.

      This is hardly a new development. And the narrative being spun now is part of the playbook.

      But you’re actually making my point. To the extent some reporters were able to get the basics of a story out of Clinton, it started with a question with the faint aroma of heft. To the extent some reporters weren’t able to get anything out of Clinton, it was the stench of a lightweight question.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    13 questions in 3 weeks is about one question every 1.6 days. Given that according to the countdown clock there are 544 days left until the 2016 general election, that translates into a further 340 questions she will answer. How many of those will be substantive? (Of course the rate of questions answered may increase the closer we get to the election.)