Media Matters’ founder David Brock knows why Hillary Clinton lost the election. It was the “animals” in the media and the failure of her advisers to respond to them appropriately. In an interview with Politico, Brock says Democrats are in trouble and the media is to blame:
“We’re in a bad situation, the Democratic Party,” he said. “Hillary Clinton’s loss has exposed the lack of Democratic power in this country at all levels. … But we won the popular vote; we ought to act like it. And so I think the strategy is — it’s pretty simple. The strategy is to keep Trump unpopular and let me tell you why we need to keep him unpopular.”…
“Look, this is a lesson learned,” Brock told me for this week’s episode of POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast. “Donald Trump intimidated the press and bullied the press. I’m not saying you have to intimidate and bully, but you have to be tough. The press are animals and they need to be treated that way.”
Brock also has a problem with a particular strategy taken by Hillary’s team in Brooklyn with regard to the email controversy. He believes it was a big mistake for her to apologize:
“She should have just said, in my opinion, ‘This was allowed.’” he told me. “I wouldn’t have apologized. Once you apologize, then the press wants you to get down on your knees and say you’re sorry. They are not appeasable. Trump apologized for nothing, including the horrible tape, right? No apology.”…
Brock’s bottom line: In 2015, when she needed to fight back early, “Hillary was not defended.”
Actually, Brock is wrong about Trump. He apologized on camera and it was a big national story. From USA Today’s transcript of his apology published October 8th:
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
Isn’t Brock supposed to know these things? As for Hillary not being defended, the media definitely had its moments going after Hillary Clinton on the email story and the Clinton Foundation, but Trump had a much rougher ride. The list of negative stories (many of them self-inflicted) would be long but Judge Curiel, Khizr Khan and the 2005 video are just a few highlights. The idea that Trump had it easier just doesn’t pass the laugh test.
As I pointed out yesterday, the problem for Democrats is that sorting out what went wrong is difficult because the election was a close one. Trump won three critical swing-states by about 80,000 votes combined or roughly 1% of the total in each state. That means anyone can point to any factor—Director Comey, Russia, the media—and plausibly claim that’s the reason Clinton lost.
It shouldn’t be surprising that David Brock, whose empire is built on the idea that the media is the primary battlefield, would point to the media as the chief problem. Not only is he focused on that issue, he also stands to gain if Democratic donors agree with his analysis and fund his new initiatives to create a “Breitbart of the left.”
So long as Democrats remain focused on the various external factors that might have contributed to Clinton’s loss they’ll keep overlooking the most fundamental explanation: Lots of people never warmed up to Hillary. All of the outside efforts to get around that problem with big advertising budgets and an army of media defenders could never solve that underlying problem. The real problem was the candidate herself.