Hillary Clinton: Today's media is more entertainment, less facts
April 23rd, 2014
09:20 PM ET
9 years ago

Hillary Clinton: Today's media is more entertainment, less facts

Storrs, Connecticut (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented the state of journalism on Wednesday, telling an audience at the University of Connecticut that journalism is now driven more by entertainment than fact based reporting.

Clinton, who has been the focus of national media attention since the early 1990s, told the 2,300-person audience that "journalism has changed quite a bit in a way that is not good for the country and not good for journalism."

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"A lot of serious news reporting has become more entertainment driven and more opinion-driven as opposed to factual," she said. "People book onto the shows, political figures, commentators who will be controversial who will be provocative because it’s a good show. You might not learn anything but you might be entertained and I think that’s just become an unfortunate pattern that I wish could be broken."

Clinton's comments came as part of the question and answer portion to Wednesday’s event. University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst asked Clinton about how journalism has changed and whether journalists could help break gridlock that has halted work in Washington.

The former secretary of state went on to say that she feels there is a space for "explanatory journalism because there’s a lot going on in the world that needs explanation."

The former first lady also had a tip for journalists: Do your homework.

"It’s important for journalists to realize that they have to do their homework too and they really should be well-prepared when they interview people, when they talk about issues," she said. "I think that it’s with professional tweaking and creativity we could address some of the issues we know are plaguing journalism today​."

Clinton has long been the focus of journalists' attention, which at times has caused an acrimonious view of media.

According to the diary of Diane Blair, a longtime Clinton confidant whose personal documents gained media attention earlier this year, Clinton regularly expressed frustration and a deep distrust of the media.

In January 1995, Blair wrote that Clinton expressed “her total exasperation with all this obsession and attention, and how hard she’s finding to conceal her contempt for it all.” On Thanksgiving Day 1996, Blair wrote that Clinton thought the press was “complete hypocrites.”

“Say they want the truth, want power to be transparent, but in fact they prefer the backstage manipulation of B. Bush, N. Reagan, B. Truman, R. Carter,” Blair wrote, listing several former first ladies. “On her death bed, wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phoney makeovers to please others.”

When her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, many in the White House worried of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" that aimed to take down the Clinton White House. Some of that concern stemmed from the rise of right wing media and blogs.

Clinton's 2008 campaign also suffered from a sometimes tense relationship with the media. In 2008, former President Clinton railed against what he called "the most biased coverage in history," and both Clintons complained of what they believed to be pervasive sexism dominating the campaign narrative.

In response to her remarks, Tim Miller, executive director of American Rising PAC, a conservative research and media super PAC, said Clinton's problem with the media stemmed from "a lack of interest in transparency, not the media. She's never going to like anyone that tries to hold her accountable."

While in Storrs, Clinton also talked about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the future of the Ukraine-Russia relationship and the importance of youth participation.

Because the remarks came at University of Connecticut, a school whose basketball program won both Division I national championship in 2014, the former secretary of state also brandished some of her basketball bona fides, telling the audience that she was "a big fan" of Shabazz Napier, the men's senior guard.

"You just busted every bracket," Clinton said.

Clinton, who has used the last few months to travel the country and deliver paid speeches, has acknowledged that she is thinking about a presidential run in 2016. All polls have her as the Democratic frontrunner and it is likely that she would win the nomination if she won.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who attended Wednesday's event, said the former first lady should think about running, while Connecticut's Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he would support Clinton "when and if she does."

Filed under: Connecticut • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. Kelly

    I don't think anyone can disagree with this statement. How it applies to the Clintons is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, the media is based on sensationalism that is now created without fact, and that is a HUGE problem

    April 24, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. yeahright

    The biggest danger to our democracy is a lazy and biases press. Its on both sides.


    No, the biggest threat to our democracy is a lazy and biazed citizenry. It is not that difficult to research and fact check. This is evident in many of the comments here. "The media promoted blah blah blah", or " the media ignored blah blah blah", when the story that is being promoted or ignored is something either fabricated or inflated by the media (on both sides) in the first place. The majority of people are not interested in facts, they want to hear something that supports their own opinion, biases and prejudices. If you want to know who to blame, look in the mirror. Today's media is first and foremost about making money and that only happens when you buy what they are selling.

    April 24, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. John Jay

    RUN HILLARY RUN!!! We NEED you!!!!!

    April 24, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. michael

    I have finally found an agreeable common ground with Hillary. True reporting journalists have gone away and followed by opinionaters who have done their best to cause more divisiveness in this country. I will not single any one of them out because I read them ALL hoping for some balance. One cannot single out MSNBC or Fox becuae they all participate in opinion journalism and probably have the likes of Walter Kronkite rolling over double time.

    April 24, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Rick

    When the spotlight was on her husband we were encouraged by the Clinton media to "Move on". Hillary might be the most disengenuinus politician alive.

    April 24, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Boris

    Under Obama administration freedom of press was diluted to the point that to report a real facts is dangerous for any journalist. Hilary held high post during the time when journalists were jailed and persecuted for not revealing their sources (a basic right of any journalist). Many journalists, in order to not destroy their carrier and lives choose to lower to soft journalism. She is hypocrite to complain about today's journalist not bringing facts to the table. Dear Hillary, if you want to change this, first call for new laws which will allow journalist to do their jobs while protecting them from persecution for reporting the truth!!!

    April 24, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. really

    If the media was reporting facts and not entertainment, Hillary would have been at the very least fired as Secretary of State. Although, if the media went with facts the current President would never have been elected either. She should be thankful the media is a 3-ring circus now.

    April 24, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Apothis

    I can only shake my head at the hypocrisy of this woman. Like most liberals she just wants any dissenting opinions silenced because...well I guess it's easier that way. And Linda from Minnesota, I guess you haven't been paying attention. MNSBC is no longer relevant even to Dems, their problems going way beyond the concept of fair journalism. ("Someone should defecate in her mouth"). Tough to forget that one and how they handled it.

    April 24, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Nomoreclintonorbush

    What difference does it make.

    April 24, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Diana

    There are those who post the knee jerk reactions that they have been spoon fed by the right wing media who only manufacture criticism with no factual basis and never make any positive contributions. They live and make money by tearing those who are successful in a fit of envy. If that is all that they have to contribute, I feel sorry for them because they will never be happy.

    April 24, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Pollopa

    Most of the comments on here prove her point. The conspiracy, cover up, supporter ... all show they know nothing of the true facts behind an issue, only what was heard and so desperately wanted to hear.
    Really sad people. Read a littel more and do better investigation before making a fool of yourself. This is a for profit business and you are clearly on the hook.

    April 24, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. HMarie

    Ms. Clinton is absolutely correct when she says, "A lot of serious news reporting has become more entertainment driven and more opinion-driven as opposed to factual," AND one of the best examples is CNN. Just look at the stories they highlight under, Other Top News Stories: Guess who's turning 50, Waitress trying to bury customer, and in the past, Kim Kardashian's diet. This is news? Quite frankly, this isn't even entertaining.

    April 24, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And Linda from Minnesota, I guess you haven't been paying attention. MNSBC is no longer relevant even to Dems, their problems going way beyond the concept of fair journalism."

    In your need to defend whatever it is you feel the need to defend you missed my point (and took CNN's bait). I loathe all political media pundits.

    April 24, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Rudy NYC


    She is 100% correct! As is Bill in regards to 2008. It was THE MOST extremely biased coverage in our history. The media bent ove rbackwards to virtually ignore or downplay anything she did to the point of parody because THEY decided they wanted Obama to win. Any the played up any and everythign he did as "historic" so they could all pat themselves on the back.
    And, you have got it 100% incorrect. Back in 2008, the vast majority, over 80%, of articles and news reports from the major media outlets about Barack Obama were negative. One can thank Fox News Channel for being the single largest contributor to that negative statistic. Fox rode the Rev. Wright thing into the ground, right along with "palling around with terrorists."

    April 24, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. yeahright

    Boris, why don't you give us a list of reporters that were jailed in this country under the current administration?
    There is a law which protect journalists, it is called the First Amendment.

    April 24, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. TCP/IP

    It is all about the clicks and comments which = $$$$$$$$$$$$ NO FACTS NEEDED !

    April 24, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    When the Internet made instant gratification a goal of so much news, the newspapers chose to compete instead of relying on what they did best – complete and objective coverage of an issue. Newsprint isn't that expensive.
    The advent of the internet...I hadn't made that connection. Thanks for sharing your views.

    April 24, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. tim

    i agree what she said, and that the reason how Obama got elected.

    April 24, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Thank you Rudy!!! I have to laugh when I hear the RWNJ's claim Obama wasn't vetted. Or claim no one could ask any questions about him. If anyone believes THAT they are crazy as hell. The media dug and dug so deep in then Senator Obama's past that they knew things from 200 years ago. What other POTUS has been so disrespected by the MSM that he was forced to release two copies of his birth certificate? If you think the whites that run this country were just going to let some half black dude simply stroll into the WH, you are sadly mistaken.

    I hope Foxlite got the reaction they have been begging for....

    April 24, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    What difference does it make
    Is it wrong of me to ROFLMAO over how aptly applied this phrase is on this thread no matter what the subject?
    Barring anyone else that might hold my interest, Hillary will probably get my vote....of course I said the same thing back in 2008.
    No regrets whatsoever.

    April 24, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Dane

    Oh wow Hillary, nice observation! Nobody noticed!

    April 24, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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