On April 24th, Helen Thomas wrote in her weekly column, “if history repeats itself, the loser of this year’s presidential election will blame the news media.” [SEE FULL ARTICLE, “The Loser Always Blame the Media”]
With the recent case of Hillary versus Barack, Helen’s assessment was spot on.
Last Saturday I had a unexpected, and even scary, confrontation. I was interviewing demonstrators at the DNC Rules meeting and had spoken to about seven people on camera. All of them supported Senator Clinton and wanted the votes in Michigan and Florida to count.
After the interviews, I was getting b-roll when I saw a guy wearing an Obama sign. I hadn’t talked to any Obama supporters so I thought this would help round my story out. He said he would talk to me, so with that, we moved away from the crowd to a quiet area. And I started to roll the camera.
I didn’t know it, but this exchange, between me, “the media” and him “the Obama fan” would come to sum up the hostility Clinton fans have felt towards the media in this primary season.
Within a minute, Clinton fans spotted me talking to the lone Obama guy and lids started to flip. I was trying to focus on the interview but I couldn’t. Loud, confrontational slurs were being directed at me. I looked over and saw two aggressive Hillary fans only an arm length away from my camera. They started yelling into the lens “This is all your fault! You’re to blame! You and the media!”
To my silent and even confused look, they went on.
“Why are you interviewing this fool?…It’s always like the media to support Obama!”
I could hardly believe it. I mean, me? This is my fault? A million thoughts ran through my head. My heart raced. This was the second time during my MTV tenure as a one-man-band that my safety felt in jeopardy. Never during, but always after, I kind of love it. It really puts me in touch with how people feel.
Within a few seconds, two cordial Clinton supporters came over and walked them away. I turned back around and went on with the interview.
The story came back to me as the North Carolina Street Teamer, Carla Babb, wrote an article about whether or not the media had favored Obama over Clinton.
With that experience fresh in my mind, here’s what I think.
To Helen’s point, the loser (and the campaign supporters) might always blame the media. But as I experienced, the assertion that my work somehow reduced (or on the flip, improved) a candidate’s political standing, while quite complimentary, is not at all true. At least I don’t think it is.
But to the Democrats as a whole — hostility, especially directed at each other, is retro active in securing the November election. It would behoove Senator Clinton to make that known to her supporters. The finger-pointing, not always aimed in the right direction, digresses party unity.
And oh yeah, one more thing. I’m not the mainstream media. I’m a citizen journalist. SNAP.