Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Fox News “superb propaganda” and a “wholly owned subsidiary of Trump and the Republican party” in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian.
Clinton said President Trump, who surprised her and most political pundits by beating her in 2016, has a knack for “tweeting and insulting and dominating the news cycles.” But she said the news media has to adapt and do a better job of covering his false statements.
“I believe that where we are now in the political cycle is that the press does not know how to cover these candidates who are setting themselves on fire every day, who are masters of diversion and distraction,” she told the newspaper. “So at some point, the press has to get smarter because that’s basically how most voters get their information.”
The former secretary of state said the news media’s dedication to “balance” leads reporters to weigh facts and opinion equally — a bad judgement call, she said, that “opens a door to somebody like him.”
Clinton seemed to have little hope, however, of Fox News improving. She said the Trump doesn’t attack Fox News “because they’re like a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump and the Republican party now.”
“You watch Fox News, it’s always, ‘Something terrible is about to happen’, ‘Something terrible did happen’, ‘These people are doing all these awful things.’ It is totally divorced from reality, but it is superb propaganda,” she told The Guardian. “I don’t know the best way to puncture that. You have to hope that reality catches up with politics and entertainment at some point.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Trump may not agree that the news media has been too easy on him. On Wednesday, he tweeted that “You just can’t win with the Fake News Media,” complaining about news coverage that he said blamed lower gas prices for traffic jams.
On Monday, the White House backed down from a decision to yank CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass. He lost the pass after he pressed Trump on his assertion that a migrant caravan far from the U.S. border constituted an “invasion” of the United States. The White House released a doctored video that made it appear Acosta had struck a female White House aide. CNN sued to regain access.
But even as it gave up on pulling Acosta’s pass, the Trump administration unveiled new rules for White House reporters this week, threatening to pull their passes if they ask follow-up questions.
Earlier this week, Trump said the U.S. would maintain a “steadfast” relationship with Saudi Arabia even though the CIA has concluded, according to the Washington Post, that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia has denied the crown prince was involved in the killing, and Trump has denied that the CIA concluded he ordered Khashoggi’s murder.