It was hardly the headline from Hillary Clinton’s interview with Christiane Amanpour — it came near the end of a 35-minute session — but one comment from the 2016 Democratic nominee perfectly illustrated why liberals remain furious at how the campaign was covered. In a riff on how to create jobs, Clinton made the fairly ordinary point that “if you don’t have access to high-speed affordable broadband, which large parts of America do not,” large employers will overlook your town. She continued:
If you drive around in some of the places that beat the heck out of me, you cannot get cell coverage for miles. And so, even in towns — so, the president was in Harrisburg. I was in Harrisburg during the campaign, and I met with people afterward. One of the things they said to me is that there are places in central Pennsylvania where we don’t have access to affordable high-speed Internet.
Time magazine’s Phil Elliott tweeted a quick summary of the quote: “You cannot get cell coverage for mile,” Clinton says of the places that voted against her.
And the firmly established narrative of Clinton and Trump is that she couldn’t connect to rural voters, whereas he was a “blue-collar billionaire” who made surprising emotional connections. Trump may be the first president whose plunge to 40 percent approval was marked by stories about the voters who still loved him. And Clinton may be the only politician who can talk about the need for rural broadband — at this point, an almost banal priority of rural politicians — and be accused of snobbery.
Good that the Washington Post – on this occasion – is highlighting the press bias towards “narrative”. Slowly but surely, the press in general is losing the plot.