Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained that “certain media” pushed disbelief about anything the establishment media published and only told former President Donald Trump’s narrative.
“The fact is that certain media really became mouthpieces for Trump’s view of reality and fed the kind of disbelief and very negative view about anything that ‘the mainstream press’ had to say,” Clinton told The Guardian during a Zoom interview this month.
“On the other hand, the mainstream press had a very hard time coming to grips with the mendacity and the danger posed by Trump and his enablers and followers.”
During his presidency, Trump called the establishment media “the enemy of the people” and spoke out against news outlets like CNN and The New York Times.
“I don’t know any American president who’s ever thought he got fair press; they always believe that they are not understood, or they’re being held to impossible standards or whatever their complaints might be,” Clinton said.
She added that by calling the media “the enemy of the people,” Trump “essentially aligned himself with authoritarian thinking and acting.”
“It did do damage inside our own country, because it fed paranoia, conspiracy theories, partisan differences in our own political system that led many people to claim that the press was the enemy of the people, or at least the enemy of what they believed in,” she said.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate blamed the media for not understanding the danger of Trump’s rhetoric.
“It is not the same to say something critical of somebody on the other side of the aisle and to instigate an attack on the Capitol and to vote against certifying the election,” she said.
“Those are not comparable, and it goes back to the problem of the press actually coming to grips with how out of bounds and dangerous the new political philosophy on the right happens to be.”
Clinton said she understood “the challenge” the establishment media faced,” but said they were too slow in realizing Trump was not just a leader with a difference of opinion.
“This was a wholesale jettisoning of what we had come to understand as being appropriate boundaries for our leaders to operate within.”
She added that Big Tech platforms have too much power and control, but they lack “accountability.”
“In particular Facebook, which has the worst track record for enabling mistruths, misinformation, extremism, conspiracy, for goodness’ sake, even genocide in Myanmar against the Rohingya. So governments are going to have to decide right now that the platforms have to be held to some kind of standard, and it’s tricky,” Clinton said.
A debunked social media conspiracy theory from the 2016 presidential election cycle called “Pizzagate” alleged that Clinton ran a sex trafficking ring at a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C., the Rolling Stone reported.
Although the Biden administration and Congress are expected to take on Big Tech, Clinton said, “It’s not easily done.”
“But I don’t see any alternative if we’re going to try to deal with the very real dangers that disinformation and the divisiveness it breeds pose to our democracies,” she said.
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