THE REAL REASON FOR HILLARY'S MEDIA AVOIDANCE
The real reason for Hillary’s avoidance of the media is her refusal to be accountable for her actions and inactions. In this way, she is elevating her own personal interest above that of the electorate and is, quite brazenly, asking for Americans to vote for her blindly.
Underlying our First Amendment free press clause is the essential concept of accountability by government officials for their actions and inactions. Before the founding, those who believed in rights theory were quick to side with the radical Whig opposition to the Hanoverian Kings of England. They believed as did the authors of Cato’s Letters, the radical whigs Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard, that a free press was indispensable to a free people and enabled the public to impose a critical check on government men and measures. Reflective of popular acceptance of this concept, printers from Boston to Savannah reprinted certain of Cato’s Letters, most notably those on free speech and press, whenever colonial Governors violated press liberties. A primary motivating factor for adoption of what became the First Amendment free speech and press clauses was the desire to ensure that the public would be free to publish works critical of government officials and their actions. The First Amendment was put to the test in the Alien and Sedition Act Crisis when those in power sought to silence criticism of official measures of all kind. Repealed following Jeffersonian Republican opposition, the Crisis led Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to expound upon the checking value of the First Amendment in their Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions against the Act.
Since the founding, it has been the essential role, indeed duty, of a free press to check the abuses of those in power. By refusing to allow herself to be the subject of interviews, Hillary not only refuses to account for her official actions but she also defeats an essential purpose of the First Amendment. She presumes that it is her prerogative as a public official not to account to the electorate. In the Twentieth Century, constitutional scholar Alexander Meiklejohn revived academic concentration on the indispensable link between democracy and a critical press. As Meiklejohn explained only if the electorate is adequately informed can votes be cast consistent with each voter’s interests. Complementing this concept, constitutional scholar Vincent Blasi explained that the First Amendment embodies a “checking value” whereby the press may check abuse in government by exposing it to the public, including an active electorate. In response, voters may vote out of office the scoundrels responsible for abusing the public trust.
Hillary’s campaign limits her exposure to media in an effort to avoid troubling questions about her past and gaffes which could reduce her popularity. Thus far, the strategy has not worked well, as critical national media, like Fox News, keep attention on Hillary’s sordid past and her abuses of power, including her private email scandal. She remains distrusted by a majority of the electorate, which helps account in part for Bernie Sanders popularity.
For those who understanding the critical import of the First Amendment’s checking value, Hillary’s refusal to be accountable to the public reveals a degree of hubris incompatible with public service in a democracy. No official high or petty should ever be above the law. Hillary presumes she can be above the law, perpetually unaccountable. Her present behavior speaks volumes about how she would govern as President. Believing herself possessed of no duty to respond to media inquiries or engage seriously any of the present scandals for which she has become infamous, Hillary will no doubt view the press as a disposable inconvenience once in office. That, of course, is antithetical to the democratic foundations of the presidency. To serve as an elected official, she must be accountable to the electorate for her every action. We have a right to know her positions on each pressing issue and to know of her specific plans. We have a right to demand that she account for the Benghazi and emailgate scandals, and indeed for all of her actions and inactions while serving as Secretary of State. Only if well enough informed can each voter exercise choice in a way that takes into account Hillary’s many faults. She, of course, presumes that Americans will not stand up for their rights and will not put her on the spot for failing to be accountable. She thinks she can run a campaign for election as if she were running one for re-election with a public conscious of her actions.
In the end, her failure to engage the media know and explain her positions thoroughly will redound to her detriment because her political support will remain soft. She will not have drawn into her ranks ardent supporters based on her positions and will be vulnerable in the general election when the Republican standard bearer will likely be more familiar to the voters (aware of his or her position on issues and background). Other than deserving of the moniker “liberal,” Hillary will be a person whose name is well known but whose politics are not.
She thinks ignorance of her true political positions will redound to her benefit, enabling her to limit alienation of Independents during the Democratic primaries by avoiding articulation of liberal positions beyond those essential to win the nomination. She thinks hiding her positions during the primaries will enable her to morph, chameleon like during the general election, to appear moderate and sway more voters to her side.
There is another possible outcome, of course. By failing to define her stand on the issues during the primaries, Hillary enables opponents to focus on her many past mistakes and her present scandals. That reinforces public understanding that she is untrustworthy. Without definition on issues to steal attention away from her character flaws, the name Hillary may increasingly be associated with corruption, abuse of power, and unaccountability. Those factors will then reappear in the general election in a big way, causing those who have been well educated in her faults to view them increasingly as disqualifying.
In sum, Hillary’s avoidance of the media, which is a refusal to be accountable, likely reinforces the majority view that Hillary is not trustworthy. That factor, beyond any other, will be the one that gives the general election outcome to the Republican standard bearer, provided he or she survives the smear campaigns that will be entertained by Hillary and her minions.
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© 2015 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, seven on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, Global Censorship of Health Information, and Restore the Republic. He is the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and joins Robert Scott Bell weekly for “Jonathan Emord’s Sacred Fire of Liberty,” an hour long radio program on government threats to individual liberty. For more info visit Emord.com, join the Emord FDA/FTC Law Group on Linkedin, and follow Jonathan on twitter (@jonathanwemord).
She thinks ignorance of her true political positions will redound to her benefit, enabling her to limit alienation of Independents during the Democratic primaries by avoiding articulation of liberal positions beyond those essential to win the nomination.