Donald Trump has continued to claim that the mainstream media is working to help Hillary Clinton get elected. But one reporter assigned to cover the Clinton campaign says the media has been anything but easy on the Democratic nominee.
Veteran Fox News war reporter Jennifer Griffin, who has been assigned to the Clinton campaign since May, says Clinton has a tense relationship with the media at best.
“She’s been in the public life for 30 years, so they are very skeptical of reporters,” says Griffin, 47, who has worked at Fox News for 20 years. (The network is celebrating its 20th anniversary amid the run-up to the election, and its anchor Chris Wallace will moderate Wednesday night’s third and final Presidential debate.)
“If you look at the WikiLeaks revelations, it shows that there was a strategy from the top to keep reporters at bay,” says Griffin. “They knew that they had very difficult questions to answer in terms of her private emails, which have really shown how there is a disdain in the Clinton camp to the press. Even about friendly reporters, they had mean things to say. And it was shown that they were planting questions at times in the audience. Even her jokes are scripted and we would see email chains of eight, nine people who had to sign off on it. So there is nothing that is not planned or thought through. It makes it so there aren’t a lot of unexpected or unscripted moments with the Clinton side.”
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“It’s not as though we have unlimited access to Clinton,” she adds. “In fact, the first few months over the summer until about Labor Day, we really didn’t have any contact with her and the Secret Service would keep us away from the rope lines. It was very challenging trying to cover her.”
Griffin says she has personally never gone easy on Clinton, and calls Trump’s accusations of widespread media bias “completely an overstatement.”
“The first question I asked Hillary Clinton the first time we had a press availability, was, ‘Why did your staff use BleachBit to destroy your emails?’ ” she recalls. “That’s the thing Donald Trump keeps calling ‘acid wash.’ He mangles the facts. But don’t tell me we’re not asking tough questions. We are.”
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Trump’s comments “show a disrespect for the hardworking journalists who are out there digging out stories,” she adds. Especially, she says, considering how frequently he uses intel she and her colleagues have dug up in his campaign speeches.
“Many of the stories that he talks about on his campaign trail are things that we reported on,” she says. “I remember one story in particular from the Pentagon that I reported before I started on the campaign trail about the state of the Air Force and how they were having to cannibalized parts off of museum planes to get planes airborne to send them over into combat. And he’s been quoting that story over and over. Well, if there weren’t reporters reporting those stories and digging those stories up, you wouldn’t have anything to talk about.”