Americans deserve candidates who answer tough questions
By: Katie Hayes
Both candidates this election cycle — Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump — have been less than transparent with the press.
Trump proposed loosening libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists who print negative articles. He revoked press credentials for almost a dozen media outlets, including the Washington Post and Politico.
Clinton kept emails on a private server which took work-related emails off public record and limited government officials’ ability to fulfill public information re- quests. This information is necessary for beat reporters — reporters assigned to cover specific topics and for watchdog journalists who hold public officials accountable for their actions through public record research.
Until Monday, Sept. 5 both candidates ew on a separate plane than reporters, breaking a more than fifty-year-old tradition that journalists y on the same plane as the candidates.
Clinton pledged to bring the press on board after Labor Day, which she did. Forty-two seats are now available to reporters — nearly 17 months since her campaign began.
Meanwhile, Trump spoke to press on his plane Monday as well. It was described as a “rare move” and “unprecedented access” on MSNBC’s website. While both statements are true in the context of Trump’s willingness to speak with the press, this is not a praiseworthy action for an American presidential candidate.
It is unprecedented that candidates were unwilling, until two months before the election, to allow press on their plane.
Criticism is the core of democracy and for criticism to be sound, accurate and specific, journalists need transparent candidates. An unwillingness for transparency with beat reporters — those who are well-versed in candidates’ policy and have the background to ask difficult and specific questions — implies questionable practice.
While comedians such as Jimmy Fallon are undoubtedly entertaining, they are not who we want to interview the next chief of state.
Talk show appearances make candidates seem relatable and transparent, but are truly nothing more than a marketing tactic to divert attention to clickbait topics.
When a candidate allows press to y with them, it symbolizes a candidate’s accessibility. Americans deserve more from both nominees.