Months after she launched her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has agreed to sit down for her first formal TV interview rather than give snap answers to a few reporters’ questions at carefully orchestrated campaign events. Not surprisingly, the Democrat front-runner for the 2016 nomination will go one-on-one today with CNN; but it may be surprising to many to learn who will be conducting the coveted interview.
First, let’s list who won’t be talking with Mrs. Clinton. It won’t be high-profile CNN anchors Jake Tapper or Wolf Blitzer or John King or even Erin Burnett. The questioner will be Senior Political Correspondent Brianna Keilar…and here’s a plausible explanation for the choice: Keilar appears to be a Clinton “friendly” and was just a guest at the wedding of a top Clinton campaign aide.
NewsBusters reports that, when Hillary made that highly publicized stop at an Ohio Chipotle restaurant on her way to Iowa for those initial chats with selected Democrat voters, Keilar “fawned over the Democrat’s appearance” at the popular Mexican restaurant.
On April 14, Keilar hyped, “Yesterday [Mrs. Clinton] stopped at a Chipotle, a campaign aide sharing with us that she had a chicken burrito bowl with black beans and guacamole and an iced tea. And you know what that kind of detail tells you — it says, ‘She’s just like us. She eats at Chipotle.'”
So, by all appearances, CNN’s Keilar literally ate up the desired Clinton campaign messaging that Hillary is, somehow, “just like us” because she once ate at Chipotle.
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And on top of the CNN-promoted Hillary hype that she’s a “woman of the people,” Mediaite reveals that the correspondent who’ll be sitting down with the candidate today, Tuesday, recently attended a wedding for a top campaign staffer for Mrs. Clinton. Actually, says Mediaite, the Clinton staffer married the operations director for a leading PAC that’s supporting the candidate.
So here’s an interesting factoid for those interested in tracking the incessant D.C.-centric co-mingling of journalists and politicians: Brianna Keilar, the CNN reporter who’ll perform the first sit-down interview with Hillary Clinton, recently attended the wedding of the Democratic candidate’s grassroots director.
During the wedding of Adam Parkhomenko (Clinton’s current Director of Grassroots Engagement) and Kirby Hoag (Ready for Hillary’s deputy operations director), a former staffer tweeted a photograph of the journalists in attendance.
The following tweet of the event was sent out by a man identifying himself as the former communications director for the powerful Ready PAC.
Mediaite goes on to raise the serious questions that must be asked in light of the disclosure that the first formal TV interview with the heretofore media-avoiding Mrs. Clinton will be conducted by a “journalist” with close ties to the campaign and what could, by her own words, be seen as a fondness for the candidate herself.
“One could easily connect the above photograph to Keilar’s big interview score and assume the sit-down was secured via friendly connections between the CNN reporter and Clinton aides. The next logical step in that thought process would be to assume unwritten ground rules for what sort of tone and/or questions the reporter can take with her subject,” notes Mediaite.
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It will be interesting to watch and see if CNN’s Brianna Keilar will disclose any of her potential conflicts of interest during the interview or in her reporting about it. As Western Journalism told you back in mid-May, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos had to admit his generous gift of $50,000 to his former employers by way of the Clinton family charities, which could easily be seen as clouding his reporting about the Clinton Foundation money scandals.