Journalist Asks Hillary Clinton a Question… by Rolling an Orange to the Front of Her Plane

AP / Andrew Harnik, @tamaragitt / Twitter

Hillary Clinton’s press corps continues to demonstrate how professional reporters ask hard questions of the Democratic presidential candidate — with notes written on an orange rolled on the floor of an airplane.

Via ABC News’s Liz Kreutz (not The Onion), on Tuesday night someone rolled a piece of fruit from the back of Clinton’s plane to the campaign staff section at the front. They requested that she circle one of two answers, much like a middle-school “Do you like me?” letter.

BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer appears to be the reporter who rolled the literal soft ball. Cramer has previously written a 6,000+-word profile of Clinton  painting her as a “love and kindness” candidate. Cramer did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the observation.

Clinton herself did not answer the question written on the orange.

As social media users began to mock the press’s orange roll, veteran reporters objected that the practice has been a campaign-trail tradition for decades.

However, the pointlessness of the question reinforces concerns about the press’s non-confrontational approach to covering the Democratic candidate. She may soon reach the milestone of 300 days without a formal press conference, and her press corps will not touch controversial topics — like foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation or the just-released FBI notes on her unsecured, homebrew email server from which she conducted all her business as secretary of state.

When Clinton first greeted reporters on her “Stronger Together”-branded Boeing 737, journalists posed “awkward first date”-style questions, as described by CNN anchor Christine Romans. “How was your Labor Day weekend?” they asked the former secretary of state. “Are you ready?” “Do you have a Labor Day message?”

Clinton, for her part, gives reporters very little incentive to ask substantive questions. On Tuesday, she abruptly cut off an informal press gaggle when asked about a CNN/ORC poll which showed Donald Trump in the lead nationally.

In June, Clinton responded to a question about Senator Elizabeth Warren with a bizarre head-wobbling motion, then gave a non-sequitur recommendation of “cold chai” tea.

In August of last year, Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked Clinton whether she “wiped” her email server. After a few dissembling sentences from Clinton, Henry followed up, “You were the official in charge of it. Did you wipe the server?” Clinton quipped, “What, like with a cloth or something?”

Last Friday, the FBI revealed that a Clinton staffer used a data deletion app called “BleachBit” to wipe the server — weeks after the New York Times revealed the private email system, and weeks after Clinton said in a statement: “I want the public to see my email.”


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