On Friday, Glenn Greenwald's deeply anti-Hillary site, The Intercept, published a "leaked" audio recording of Hillary Clinton speaking in February to campaign donors.
The audio is supposed to be damning but The Intercept does an unconvincing job of portraying it that way. Politico did a little better, initially spinning it as Clinton mocking Bernie supporters as "living in their parent's basement." But later, Politico was forced to change the headline "to better reflect Clinton’s tone" because it was painfully obvious that's not what she was doing in the slightest.
Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don’t see much of a future. I met with a group of young black millennials today and you know one of the young women said, “You know, none of us feel that we have the job that we should have gotten out of college. And we don’t believe the job market is going to give us much of a chance.” So that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics.
Anyone that takes the time to listen to the speech will find a candidate that has listened, really listened, to Millennials and understands their point of view. If this sounds unbelievable, consider this: Bernie Sanders went on the ABC's This Week and backed Clinton up with zero equivocation:
“I think what she said ― and, by the way, during the campaign, we do have our differences, Secretary Clinton and I do disagree on issues,” he said. “But what she was saying there is absolutely correct. And that is, you’ve got millions of young people, many of whom took out loans in order to go to college, hoping to go out and get decent-paying, good jobs.”
When the unofficial spokesperson for Millennial angst completely agrees with Hillary's empathetic description of Millennial angst, chances are attempts to make hay out of it are doomed to fail.
Even more astonishing, Hillary can be heard pleading with her rich donors to understand where economically disadvantaged Millennials are coming from:
And so if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot, and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing. So I think we should all be really understanding of that and should try to do the best we can not to be, you know, a wet blanket on idealism. We want people to be idealistic. We want them to set big goals. But to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals.
That is as far from mocking as it gets. That is what a leader who listens and empathizes sounds like. That is a leader who refuses to demonize her fellow liberals to whip up her own progressive base. And these remarks were given in February, well before Hillary's nomination was secure.
The Trump campaign is trying really hard to make it seem like Hillary was making fun of Bernie supporters but the reality is so self-evident, he's not making much headway. Even The Intercept didn't try taking that angle although it's important to note that Politico did. Even after backing down on the headline, the article still takes parts of the speech out of context to make it appear as if Hillary is speaking derisively of Bernie supporters.
This entire story is just the latest example of journalistic malpractice that has become so routine during this election and it's good to see that fewer members of the press are taking the bait and the backlash is coming more rapidly now for those that do.
It's about goddamned time.