Politics

New York Mag Waters Down Article To Make Hillary Look Less Controlling

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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New York magazine made substantial edits to a Tuesday article that was slightly critical of Hillary Clinton’s refusal to hold press conferences this year.

The article heavily edited sections highlighting Clinton’s shortcomings as a candidate, including her political posturing to avoid tough questions from the press until after she clinches the Democratic nomination.

The magazine’s Claire Landsbaum originally wrote in her article “Why Hillary Clinton Is Avoiding Press Conferences”:

But Clinton, who’s so far confined most of her media appearances to televised interviews, knows public speaking isn’t her forte. “This isn’t easy for me,” she said during a debate in March. “I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama.” Part of playing the political game is knowing the best way to get your message across. As such, Clinton should be recognized for her pragmatism rather than being pressured to perform based on standards that don’t necessarily apply across the board.

That paragraph was completely deleted. As was the following paragraph:

But I’d argue that an even more important factor in Clinton’s apparent reluctance to hold press conferences is that she knows they’re not her strong suit. “Those of us who cover the Hillary Clinton campaign would love to have a press conference, even if she insulted us,” said Nancy Cordes, a CBS reporter. “She hasn’t done one for months and months. She’s just not comfortable in that setting.”

Editors completely rewrote the following paragraph that argued Clinton’s press silence is a shrewd political maneuver:

Of course, Clinton’s avoidance is strategic: She knows she has a much better chance of controlling the situation if she can field questions during, say, a nationally televised town hall. Does she owe it to voters to be interrogated by the press? Sure. But it makes sense for Clinton to wait until after she’s officially clinched the Democratic nomination (a task Bernie Sanders has made surprisingly difficult) to open herself up to further ridicule.

That paragraph shortened and merged with a subsequent paragraph. It was changed to:

Of course, a lack of press conferences doesn’t equal a lack of transparency: She’s given more than 300 interviews in 2016, including speeches before and after primaries and caucuses, town halls, and appearances on NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. But Clinton knows she has a much better chance of controlling the situation if she can field questions during, say, a nationally televised town hall instead of a no-holds-barred press scrum.

New York magazine also changed the language in another sentence talking about Hillary’s decision not to hold press conferences from:

She is, in other words, controlling the message — she’s playing to her strengths as much as Trump plays to his with sensational supersized rallies and press conferences on his home turf.

To:

She is, in other words, playing to her strengths as much as Trump plays to his with sensational supersize rallies and press conferences on his home turf.

Editors seemed to have taken “controlling the message” out of the paragraph to the less politically-charged wording of “playing to her strengths.” Why?

All the magazine offers for the edits is a short update at the bottom of Landsbaum’s article. The update reads: “This item has been substantially edited since its original publication.”

New York magazine editors also substantially cut down Landsbaum’s final paragraph:

The same is true of her presidential run. As Traister herself points out, Clinton shines in one-on-one interactions. She files away every face and proves her devotion to supporters by promising them — individually — that she’ll work as hard as she can to make their lives better. Her charisma doesn’t come through in press conferences, and as Trump’s own rise demonstrates, it’s charisma that sways voters.

That paragraph was replaced with:

Does she owe it to voters to give a press conference at some point soon? Yes. But it’s probably not a political mistake to give fewer than Trump.

You can see how the original version compares to the final version of Landsbaum’s article by clicking here.

Update: This story originally reported The New Yorker published the Clinton article. That was incorrect, and the story has been changed accordingly.

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