For the first time since the tradition’s inception, press covering the US Presidential candidates will not fly on the candidates’ planes, says an August 28 New York Times article. Instead, reporters will be confined to the “zoo planes,” secondary planes originally designated for troublemaking journalists who had to be kept at an arms length from the candidates. The Times’ Jim Rutenberg frames this development in part as an outgrowth of Clinton’s policy of secrecy, exemplified by her email scandal, by her lack of interviews with election beat press, and by the Obama administration’s insufficient response to Freedom of Information requests. While Rutenberg does mention Trump’s issues with the media—notably, his ban on journalists he personally dislikes—Rutenberg’s commentary largely comes down on Clinton. (This double standard that Clinton, the nation’s first female presidential candidate, faces is certainly not her first. But its familiarity does not make it fair.)
The press has the opportunity to criticize Clinton precisely because of her previous transparency, her openness to media, her government experience, her many interviews, which she gives all across the country. That the Times would forget the foundation on which their argument stands weakens the argument itself is worrying on several levels.