Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Not Ready For A Real Media

There was a rather revealing interview given by Hillary Clinton's former press secretary, Brian Fallon. Fallon admitted that Clinton was "blindsided" by the "Breitbart effect." What does this mean?

According to Fallon, the "Breitbart effect" was the existence of "pro-Donald Trump counter-narratives that seemed to dominate the news cycle" and kept Team Clinton on the defensive. He said that the Breitbart group "cultivated a standalone ecosystem in conservative media that very aggressively and successfully promoted certain stories and narratives we had a blind spot for during the campaign." Essentially, because of the Brietbart group, Clinton needed to address "unflattering headlines" about the Clinton Foundation, her corporate speeches, her health, her record as Secretary of State and the e-mail server scandal rather than attacking Trump for his missteps.


Think about this. So Clinton was running for President and never expected to need to address the scandals that surrounded her, her record of failure as Secretary of State, or her fitness for the job. Can you imagine? What does this say not only about the media itself, but about Clinton's relationship to them. Keep in mind, this is the same media that digs and digs and digs and will raise anything it thinks it can turn into a scandal against a Republican. Their health, their political record and any known scandals involving them are automatic media fodder. Yet Clinton apparently wasn't expecting to need to deal with those things.

What this says is that Clinton knew the MSM was going to cover for her. They weren't going to cover basic things that any journalist should cover even against people they like. In other words, the media is THAT in the tank for her!

This also tells us how inept the Democrats are. Hillary should have been ready to address those things before she ever began campaigning. Those things are part of her known baggage. A competent politician plans a response to things like that. Yet, she and her team apparently didn't even think they would come up.

What's more, think about this: Breitbart is a fringe organization that probably reaches less than 1% of voters. So Hilary's campaign press secretary is dumping their failure on the fact that in a media sea of pro-Clinton groupthink, there was 1% opposition? Is he really suggesting that they weren't prepared for their to be even token opposition? Wow.

This is pretty shocking actually.



AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I didn't see your article before I published this one. Sorry. So I moved your article to tomorrow night.

LL said...

The public saw through the MSM smoke screen. Furthermore, Hillary didn't do much campaigning and what she did was promise to be Obama II. People didn't like her - and not just me.

Furthermore, Trump didn't campaign like a traditional Republican, and that worked.

Anthony said...

There were three relevant effects during the last election.

1) The Obama effect - A deeply unpopular administration whose figurehead was kept alive only by his personal charisma but whose bad policies and inattention to detail pretty much sunk his party
2) The Clinton effect - Uncharismatic, manifestly corrupt, promising just to continue the Obama policies nobody was all that enthuses about, and averse to the media (she went months and months without holding anything resembling a press conference) Clinton was her own worst enemy.
3) The Trump effect - Charismatic, corrupt, prone to grandiose, unrealistic promises and crude attacks, Trump was Clinton's only possible path to victory.

Clinton's strategy was to minimize media coverage by not doing or saying anything, leaving PR to surrogates. Trump's strategy was to maximize media coverage by any means necessary. Ridiculing the wife of an enemy, calling out a judge who ruled against him for being Hispanic, claiming a female reporter who asked him a tough question was on her period, and retweeting white supremacists, it was all part of the game. Both strategies were without modern precedent and were quite odd, but it was an odd election.

Most of the election cycle, I thought Clinton was going to edge Trump because while both candidates were dumpster fires, the public disliked him a bit more because he (and thus his flaws) was getting more coverage.

Clinton leapfrogged Trump in coverage at the very end of the game A) because the FBI found itself looking at classified emails which surfaced on the computer of a guy who wanted to have sex with a child and B) because Trump's twitter account was uncharacteristically silent for those same weeks.

BevfromNYC said...

I am not surprised that the Clinton campaign operatives didn't think they would have to address their many little "foibles". Frankly, they would have been right if any other Republican had won the nomination. Trump was the only one who could actually take on their issues head-on and would have with lack of propriety. And the Clinton camp wasn't prepared because they thought they had enough ammunition to counter.

Clinton paid twice as much on her campaign and still lost. So it wasn't about money. It was who they spent their money only going to Clinton-friendly districts. I don't remember her ever going to WV coalmine country. Trump got $70M worth of free publicity just from media pounding him for every syllable uttered. Clinton and her entire campaign consulting team actually thought that she would win because she deserved it and because she was a woman.

And right now all of her campaign advisers are desperate to make it not their mistakes. And now with all of the NSA Susan Rice's revelation that she may or may not have used wire-tapped information to "spy" on the Trump campaign. Well, they are desperate now. And the media is obliging them because they are so intertwined with the Clinton/Obama conflicts of interest/intermarriage, the media is in the hotseat too.

tryanmax said...

The definition of a "competent politician" is wildly different depending on party affiliation. Hillary had every reason to expect the media to carry her, going back to her days denouncing a vast right-wing conspiracy. If you put aside the shift in the media landscape, Hillary was a perfectly competent politician, for a Democrat.

I think the Breitbart reach in 2016 was well above 1%, though still nothing like the major networks. Breitbart, like Buzzfeed, has really emphasized virality. It's no accident that the crackdown on "fake news" by Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. came only after their gal lost.

Prior to social media, conservatives and right wingers were scattered, feeling isolated and discouraged. Social media gave them the tools to coalesce, connect, and embolden one another. Now the same social media that unwittingly connected the political right is going to try to scatter them again before 2018.

Critch said...

I have long thought that Hillary wasn't nearly as smart as her PR says she is. I think most of the political savvy came from Bill,,,,but I really feel they had him sit out on the side with his babes and let Hillary run everything.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - It musta' been something you said because Steve "Breitbart.com" Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council as of this morning.

Critch - The Clinton camp really banked on the "Trump is a Sexist Pig/Anti-Woman" routine. To your point that they had Bill "sit out on the side" was specifically because every single time he tried to help, the Clintons were bludgeoned with Bill's many, many allegations of sexual harassment. Btw, I lost several female friends when I pointed this out...repeatedly when the issue of Trump's alleged grabbing came up. Not that I am a big fan of Trump's but that my friends literally had not one problem with Bill being an alleged rapist and serial sexual predator..."he wasn't running".

AndrewPrice said...

LL, She's a hard person to life. I really do believe that Hollywood has hooked into certain stereotypes that people share and when you act like one of those people they assume all the good and bad that comes with the stereotype. Hillary plays right into the "rotten teacher" stereotype. She's the unpleasant, nosy woman who is constantly lecturing the cool kids as they try to have fun.

Bad persona to project.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I largely agree, except on a couple points.

First, I think the public "liked" Trump better because he was a celebrity and the public accepts his kind of behavior from those people. Clinton was not a celebrity, so she was judged on her persona -- Trump was perceived to be acting.

Second, I think Clinton's plan isn't unprecedented. She was following the standard GOP plan from the last few election cycles -- say nothing and hope the Democrat implodes. That doesn't work.

Third, Trump's silence was part of en effort to make him more presidential. You could see that coming bit by bit over the last 5-6 weeks. Team Clinton missed it. They also thought they had destroyed him already with every Hollywood feminist proclaiming their hate for him. The misunderstood how little we like or respect actresses.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think you're right, and that is the point to this article: she really believed that she would never need to address these things because the media wouldn't cover it and the GOP had no way to bring it up effectively. Trump found a way and that shocked them. And what that tells us is (1) how shockingly in the tank the media really is and (2) how dependent the Democrats are on that.

On Rice, the media is currently doing their best to spin that away. Technicalities: it's legal. Diversion: Uh, supposed allegation of alleged not-really-wrong-doing is all part of the evil Trump team's plans to distract us from their spying for Russia! Simple not reporting it. Reporting denials without ever explaining the underlying facts. Dismissing it as "everybody does it". And my personal favorite, blaming the people who gave it to her: it's their job to figure out if she's supposed to get it or not.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I chose 1% just based on the idea that people engaged in politics is only about 6%-10% of the total public. It could be higher. But I would bet that the vast, vast, vast majority of people who voted for Trump never once read a Breitbart story.

In the end though, whatever the percentage, I think these quotes really highlight that the Democrats are simply incapable of dealing with a news landscape where opposition is allowed. They've become so used to the media being one-sided that they no longer know how to handle a world where they face actual questions.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I look at Clinton's record and I see a record of failure. I see an ambitious, arrogant woman who is super unhappy that she was never as good as her husband and whose entire career depended on riding his coattails.

And the few times she was given any authority (White Water, Hillarycare, State Department) she created disasters.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The standard refrain of liberals is "that's different." They are always capable of happily overlooking all the sins of the people they like while demonizing those of people they don't like. They do this over and over and over.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I follow you now. By "virality" I meant to imply that one not need visit the Breitbart page, or even see a Breitbart link to be aware of the Breitbart narrative.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, You are correct that people didn't need to see a Breitbart story to get the narrative, but again, I think it's important to recognize that only a tiny percentage of people are even open to that kind information. Most know very little about the candidates except their vague impressions and what they may or may not hear around the office or on headlines they come across. The idea that Breitbart was something more than a nuisance compared to the power and unity of the MSM is ridiculous. And so, the idea that Clinton was facing something new and strange in this tiny opposition is even more ridiculous. The problem is they went into this assuming a 100% biased playing field and they had none of the skills needed to deal with even a couple hecklers.

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