Without a doubt, reporters have waited for months to get an opportunity to ask Hillary Clinton questions. They want to ask about her campaign, about her views on various foreign-policy crises, and especially about the scandals surrounding her e-mail system and the Clinton foundation.  Today, Hillary will give them an opportunity to do so at a press availability at the UN, but there’s a catch — they have to be mind-readers to gain access to the presser. Thanks to the UN’s credentialing process, media outlets have to request access 24 hours in advance … even though Hillary only announced the “press availability” a few hours ago (via Daniel Halper):

SEITZ-WALDIt’s appearing at the UN, which has a notoriously difficult credentialing process. So there’s going to be a restriction on the number of reporters who can come in. You had to apply 24 hours in advance for press passes. So I don’t know if it is intentional or not, but there will definitely be a limited number than if they held it at, say, a hotel or somewhere else in New York where they could be expected to be mobbed by every reporter and their mother in the city.

Seitz-Wald might not know whether it’s intentional or not, but it’s pretty obvious to everyone else. Of course it’s intentional. Hillary can limit the questioning to reporters whose normal beat is international relations, not American electoral politics, working largely for publications more interested in that area and perhaps a few from outlets focusing on women’s issues. That’s not a guarantee that Hillary won’t get grilled on the scandals effectively, but it will keep most of the media outlets inclined to ask tough questions from getting the opportunity.

And afterward? Assuming she can skate past the international press today on these scandals, Hillary and her team can claim that it’s all “asked and answered.” They’ll unleash Lanny Davis, James Carville, and Howard Dean (about which more later) to say that Hillary has faced down her detractors from the “vast right-wing conspiracy” and that she wants to move on to more pressing topics. Hillary herself will have the opening to do the same thing … at least until the next shoe drops.

Will this satisfy the American media? National Journal’s Ron Fournier sounded tough about Hillary’s need to be completely transparent earlier today:

Hillary Clinton is responsible for her choices. Bad choices. Dodge federaltransparency and security rules for email. Take money from foreign countries that discriminate against women and seek influence over U.S. policy. Dispatch David Brock, Lanny Davis and other professional dissemblers to discredit critics and fair questions.

Staggered by self-inflicted wounds, the former secretary of state reportedly plans to hold a news conference. This presents her with a choice between the right way and wrong way to manage a public relations crisis in the post-internet era, when the 1990s tactics of deflection, deception, and victimization are less relevant then a phone booth.

Sure looks like this is a perfect set-up for the wrong way.

Update: Actually, Hillary’s office did manage to open a window for credential applications … for a whole eighteen minutes.