In an interview with Slate staff writer Isaac Chotiner, New York Times campaign reporter and Chasing Hillary author Amy Chozick discussed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat — and complained how the media did not do enough to promote her agenda.
Chotiner needled Chozick about a passage in her book that highlighted the public thirst for knowledge of Clinton’s email scandal, saying, “There was an insatiable appetite for email-related stories. I can’t explain it exactly except to compare it to a fever that spread through every newsroom and made us all salivate over the tiniest morsels.”
Chotiner asked, “What role do you think the Times had in how big a story it became,” while Chozick specified that it was in regards to all media outlets, not just the one at which she was employed:
I think a lot of the furor over the emails came from cable news and what was feeding cable, so I want to make clear that that section wasn’t just about the Times.
Look, I understand Hillary’s supporters complaining about the veracity and volume of stories around the email server. But I think it’s hard to say that the leading candidate for the presidency of the United States being under FBI investigation is a nonstory, which seems like what some of her supporters have argued. You can debate the legitimacy of the FBI investigation, but it was definitely a big story.
Of the chaos before the election, Chozick lamented that it was simply “impossible to get other sympathetic stories to break through in the environment we were in,” especially amidst coverage of the Clinton e-mails that she characterized as “voracious.”
Unsatisfied, Chotiner pressed the point that, regardless of what else had been happening, the New York Times could still have plastered sympathetic stories about Clinton and her policies across the front page. Chozick was in fact personally involved in the coverage of the Clinton presidential campaign and pointed out the multitude of stories featuring the 2016 Democrat nominee.
When pressed about not putting flattering Clinton content front and center — even without supporting interviews — Chozick asked directly: “You are saying we could have put that on the front page even if there was no interview?” Chotiner simply responded, “Yeah.”
Chozick agreed but said, “When you get a press release that the entire press corps gets on some policy that is being rolled out, it’s much harder to argue that this is huge news that needs to be highlighted in an important way.”
“I don’t, obviously, make those decisions, or I would put all of my stories on the front page,” she continued, “but I do think, you know, you need news. You need something new. We covered all of it.”
After a bit of wrap-up on Clinton’s defeat, Chotiner took one last jab about a Twitter dispute between Chozick and Chelsea Clinton on the fact-checking done (or not) for the book, which allegedly misrepresents Chelsea Clinton’s “hair keratin treatment,” or lack thereof, and whether she was “popping champagne.”
All of the media efforts in the world still resulted in the election victory of President Donald Trump. Whether that might have been changed if some outlets had only shilled harder for Clinton, we may never know. Undoubtedly the media will continue to update you when more people are found to blame for the results of the 2016 election other than Hillary herself.