Meet the Press' Chuck Todd is blasting Hillary Clinton for continuing to block media access to her campaign and is urging the presidential candidate to change that strategy or risk damaging coverage.
Todd, along with the NBC Political Unit, used his morning briefing First Read to explain "why the fight over access to Hillary Clinton matters." Though it's typical for journalists to wish for more access to political candidates, Todd sees "the escalating tensions" boiling between the Clinton camp and the media as a potential disaster for her bid.
"Clinton, staffed by plenty of White House alums, is essentially running as a presidential incumbent, except without a day job," Todd writes. "By trying to play by the same set of rules that govern the White House press corps (background briefings, tightly regulated pool coverage, and very limited questions to the principle), Team Clinton is playing into the exact narrative they've pledged to avoid -- appearing to hold a coronation, not a contest."
"If the media feels as if Clinton has the attitude that her campaign is above press accountability," Todd continues, "the coverage is going to reflect that. And by the way, this isn't just about playing nice with reporters and bringing donuts to the back of the campaign bus. It's about treating the process with respect."
Clinton's numbers nationwide are getting worse. Todd points to a new CNN/ORC poll showing that a majority -- now 57 percent up from 49 in March -- believe Clinton to be dishonest and untrustworthy. Other numbers have also flipped -- 46 percent find her favorable, while 50 percent unfavorable.
Todd reminds Clinton that "one of the necessary evils of running for president" is giving the press access to your campaign, much like, he said, the Republicans that are running have done.
And with the announcement of yet another official campaign launch from Roosevelt Island in New York in mid-June, Todd questions whether or not the optics of this works in her favor either:
[L]ike it or not, by wrapping her arms around the Roosevelts, she's all-in on the dynasty issue… [S]he's pointing to the duo of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt as a model. It's historically ambitious. Obviously, many a Democrat would love Roosevelt comparisons, but can a campaign be too ham handed about grasping for the comparison?