Broadcast evening news programs entirely ignored Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign finance reform proposal, instead continuing to focus on speculation about Clinton's email use and poll numbers, according to a Media Matters review.
Clinton Announces Campaign Finance Reform Proposals
Clinton Releases Campaign Finance Reform Plan To Curb Anonymous Donations And Boost Small Donors. On September 8 Hillary Clinton presented a set of proposals on campaign finance reform aimed at stopping the flow of anonymous political donations and strengthening the impact of small donors through matching programs. Clinton's plan also includes support for “a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to shareholders,” a move campaign finance activists have long pushed for. As The New York Times reported:
In a plan intended to upend a “political system hijacked by billionaires and special interests,” Hillary Rodham Clinton presented a set of proposals on Tuesday to curb anonymous political donations and bolster the influence of small donors through a federal matching program.
“Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement, reiterating her call to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling.
The issue of campaign finance reform has galvanized voters in both parties amid a roiling debate about what democracy means in an era when “super PACs” can raise and spend billions in support of candidates. Two candidates -- Donald J. Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- have struck a chord by railing against the influence of such groups in politics.
Mrs. Clinton's multiprong plan includes a push for legislation that would require greater public disclosure of political spending, establish a matching system for congressional and presidential candidates, and support a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to shareholders. [The New York Times, 9/8/15]
Experts Call Proposal The “Most Detailed” Plan On Campaign Finance Reform By Any Presidential Candidate
Brennan Center: Clinton's “Smart” Plan Targets “The Three Most Critical Areas For Reform.” New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice praised Clinton's “detailed, concrete plan for campaign finance reform” for targeting “the three most critical areas for reform,” calling the plan “the most detailed blueprint for political reform issued by a presidential candidate” :
Today, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed a detailed, concrete plan for campaign finance reform. If enacted it would fundamentally change the role of big money in American politics. The proposal targets what the Brennan Center has long advocated as the three most critical areas for reform:
- Jurisprudential Change: Clinton calls for a push to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and other misguided court rulings. Read more about the drive for a new campaign finance constitutional doctrine in the Brennan Center's Rethinking Campaign Finance: Toward a Pro-Democracy Jurisprudence.
- Small Donor Public Financing: Clinton supports establishing a small donor matching system for presidential and congressional candidates, which would enable a broader section of the American public to have their voices heard in elections and public policy debates. Read more in the Brennan Center's Empowering Small Donors in Federal Elections and Donor Diversity Through Public Matching Funds.
- Increased Disclosure of Political Spending:Clinton proposes a push for federal legislation to increase disclosure, new SEC rulemaking requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to their shareholders, and an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose all political spending. Read more in the Brennan Center white paper Requiring Government Contractors to Disclose Political Spending, which urged President Obama to issue this order, and our testimony supporting the DISCLOSE Act in Congress.
Reducing the overwhelming influence of big money over our elections is an issue of great concern to a broad swath of the American public. So far, this plan is the most detailed blueprint for political reform issued by a presidential candidate. All candidates should issue detailed plans to increase transparency, empower average voters, and push back against the Supreme Court's misguided and harmful rulings on campaign finance. [The Brennan Center for Justice, 9/8/15]
Campaign Finance Organization: Clinton's Plan Is “Strong, Bold” And “Recognizes ... It's Crucial To Amplify The Voices Of Regular Voters.” Every Voice, an organization addressing “big money in politics,” lauded Clinton's plan for being “strong, bold” and shifting power back to “the voices of regular voters” instead of “big money donors.” According to the organization's press release:
With amplifying the voices of everyday Americans at its core, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's plan to reduce the influence of big-money donors, including small-donor public financing, is strong and bold, said national money-in-politics group Every Voice.
“With the release of this strong, bold plan, Hillary Clinton recognizes that in order to create government of, by, and for the people--not just the wealthy campaign funders--it's crucial to amplify the voices of regular voters” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “What she has proposed is both good policy and good politics. That's why Clinton should actively campaign on this platform and push these solutions to the center of the debate in the days, weeks, and months to come.” [Every Voice, 9/8/15]
Yet Broadcast News Completely Ignored Clinton's Proposal When Covering The Candidate
ABC: “The Private Server -- What Was She Thinking?” During the September 8 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, host David Muir sat down with Clinton for a one-on-one interview covering her email use and private server while secretary of state, focusing in particular on recent polling:
DAVID MUIR: As America goes back to work, back to school, for Hillary Clinton it is back to a new reality. Her poll numbers sinking fast, and tonight she's talking exclusively with us, saying I'm sorry, and not just once. Tonight here, no question off limits. The private server -- what was she thinking? Can she survive this? And the new headline tonight that at least two emails reviewed are top secret. And in a very candid moment we ask, does she ever quietly wonder, why go through this all again? [ABC, World NewsTonight, 9/8/15]
NBC: “Hillary Clinton Is Apologizing For Using A Private Server.” During the September 8 edition of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Andrea Mitchell reported on Clinton's apology, poll numbers, and campaign “reboot,” with no mention of the campaign finance reform plan:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton is apologizing for using a private server. She's also rebooting her campaign after complaints from donors about the email controversy and polls now showing Bernie Sanders now pulling ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire, and possible candidate Joe Biden doing better than Clinton against Donald Trump. [NBC, NBC Nightly News, 9/8/15]
CBS: Clinton “Has Another Number To Worry About,” Polls. During the September 8 edition of CBS Evening News, coverage of Clinton focused on poll numbers, recent apology, and her campaign's “re-calibrati[on],” failing to mention Clinton's campaign finance reform plan announced that day:
NORAH O'DONNELL: Hillary Clinton, who hopes to succeed [President Obama] has another number to worry about. A new poll of democratic voters shows her support has fallen 10 points in the past month, to 42 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who's not even in the race, is up ten points, followed closely by Senator Bernie Sanders. Nancy Cordes is in Salem, New Hampshire.Nancy, good evening.
NANCY CORDES: Good evening, Nora. And those numbers likely have a lot to do with a major about face by Clinton today,who said for the first time she's sorry for using a private email address and private server as secretary of state. [CBS, CBS Evening News, 9/8/15]