Amid the hoopla surrounding Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live and a certain pickle jar, it may be instructive to recall that, as Breitbart News first reported, a draft media policy memo requested by Clinton recommended that she utilize “specialty media,” including late night shows, to get across her messages and help shape opinions.
This is not to draw implications regarding her health or the pickle jar stunt, but to spotlight Clinton’s continued bypassing of the traditional news media in favor of occasional late night appearances. It’s been 265 days since Clinton’s last press conference.
In May, Breitbart News reported on an email released that month containing a 2009 memo urging Clinton to use her star power and singled out shows like Oprah, Ellen and The View, to be used to “amplify and deliver messages that advance policymaking.” The memo also singled out late night programs.
“The line between daytime talk shows and hard news becomes more and more blurred as headlines in one realm make headlines in the other,” wrote Jin Chon, in a three-page memo dated January 18, 2009. Chon served as spokesman for specialty media for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The memo, marked as a draft, was addressed to “Secretary of State-Designate Hillary Clinton Transition Team” and was titled, “Draft Memo: Specialty Media in the Age of Secretary Clinton.” It was contained in a February 5, 2009 email Chon sent to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Chon informed Abedin that Clinton personally requested the memo. “I mentioned the memo below to HRC last night and she asked me to get it to her,” he wrote.
In the memo, Chon highlighted the importance of specialty media as opposed to more political news outlets.
Regarding late night talk shows, Chon wrote:
“Late Night Talk Shows-Shows like Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, and The Daily Show will be keeping close tabs on Secretary Clinton’s activities and no doubt, find whatever they can for comedic value. With Conan O’Brien shifting to The Tonight Show slot in May 2009 and Jay Leno getting his own weekday prime time spot at 10 pm, there will even more opportunity to work with these shows to bring a (sic) of mix light and more serious topics to the American public.”
The memo also singled out Ellen DeGeneres as “a big supporter of Hillary Clinton and is willing to use her platform to help promote the agenda of the new Secretary of State.”
The memo did not explain how it obtained the purported information about DeGeneres’s alleged willingness to use her show to promote Clinton’s agenda.
Chon also mentions entertainment news show like Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, EXTRA, and Inside Edition. “Together these shows reach an audience of 25 million viewers everyday. Working with these outlets can help shape Americans’ opinion of foreign policy and provide a human face to the issues that the State Department is promoting.”
Clinton’s lack of significant exchange with the news media has apparently even become a problem for the Washington Post. “It’s been 263 days since Hillary Clinton last held a press conference,” wrote the Post’s Chris Cillizza earlier this week. “That’s a dangerous precedent.”
As the Daily Mail reported, after her speech yesterday in Reno, during which she attacked Breitbart News, Clinton was short with the news media when they attempted to question her while she was campaigning with potential voters at Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno. Clinton reportedly dodged questions and offered chocolates to reporters she described as the “cooperative” press.
“They are so wonderful, so cooperative, so hard-working. They deserve a piece of chocolate,” she said.
The newspaper further reported on largely failed media attempts to get answers from Clinton:
The seconds-long attempt at luring Clinton into an unscripted Q-and-A began with a journalist calling out: ‘Now’s a good time for a question, right?’
His query was met with laughter.
Another reporter, from CNN, asked her a question about her husband, former President Bill Clinton, but the candidate wouldn’t play along.
Video footage from ABC News and the Reno Gazette-Journal showed the Democratic presidential hopeful tasting one piece of chocolate and commenting: ‘Love the salt. So good.’
‘Oh my gosh. This is really good,’ she added.
Gazette-Journal reporter Seth Richardson noted drily afterward on Twitter: ‘We didn’t get any chocolate.’
While seemingly avoiding the news media, Clinton went on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night ABC show earlier this week, where she laughed off questions about her health by exaggerating signs of physical weakness while opening a jar of pickles.
She referred to claims that she has major health problems as “part of the wacky strategy” meant to target voters.
“I don’t know why they are saying this,” Clinton stated on the show. “I think on the one hand it’s part of the wacky strategy … on the other hand it absolutely makes no sense. And I don’t go around questioning Donald Trump’s health. I mean, as far as I can tell he’s healthy as a horse.”
A letter released by Clinton’s physician in July 2015 dubbed Clinton in “excellent physical condition,” but noted she was diagnosed at the time with hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies and was taking the medications Armour Thyoid and Coumadin daily. The letter, from Clinton’s physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, further stated that in 2009 she suffered from deep vein thrombosis and an elbow fracture that year.
Bardack provided some information about a 2012 incident in which Clinton was said to have suffered from a blood clot and concussion.
Time magazine reported at the time:
Bardack’s letter provides the most detailed accounting of the 2012 episode, which came as Clinton was set to testify before Congress on the 2012 Benghazi attacks shortly before leaving office.
According to Bardack, Clinton fainted after becoming dehydrated from a stomach virus and suffered a concussion during the fall. During subsequent evaluations, Bardack said, Clinton was diagnosed with a “transverse sinus venous thrombosis,” a type of blood clot in the brain, and was given anticoagulants to dissolve the clot. After the concussion, Clinton experienced double-vision and wore glasses with a Fresnel Prism.
“Her concussion symptoms, including the double vision, resolved within two months and she discontinued the use of the prism,” Bardack wrote. “She had follow-up testing in 2013, which revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion as well as total dissolution of the thrombosis. Mrs. Clinton also tested negative for all clotting disorders.”