Fox Mischaracterizes Clinton's Hacked Remarks To Claim She's Smearing Millennials

Fox News is mischaracterizing remarks Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made at a private fundraiser in February, falsely claiming that she was mocking Bernie Sanders’ supporters as “broke and delusional.” In the audio of the remarks, which security officials believe was originally hacked by Russian government operatives and then later posted by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton is highlighting the “sense of disappointment among young people in politics” and why they were driven to support Sanders.

Wash. Free Beacon Posts Audio Of Clinton Fundraiser, Reportedly Obtained By Hackers Affiliated With Russian Military Intelligence

Hillary Clinton Explains The “Sense Of Disappointment Among Young People About Politics.” In a September 27 article titled “Clinton Privately Opposed Major U.S. Nuclear Upgrade,” The Washington Free Beacon posted audio of a February fundraiser where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke about the “sense of disappointment among young people about politics” and how that could explain support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). Clinton explained that some young voters are “children of the Great Recession” who may be “living in their parent’s basement” because they have jobs that don’t “pay a lot or … have a ladder of opportunity attached” to them. From the audio:

HILLARY CLINTON: Here’s what I think is going on, and I think we have to do more research to understand it better. I think you’re really on to something.There is a sense of disappointment among young people about politics. And there are a lot of different reasons for it. Now, some take the position that they were for President Obama and he didn’t revolutionize our country. You know, the poor man faced implacable hostility and got a lot done and deserves an enormous amount of credit. But the idea that somehow the Affordable Care Act or saving the economy were not big enough accomplishments is just bewildering to me, because I know how hard it was and what a touch-and-go deal it was.

Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession and they are living in their parent’s basement, they feel that 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 like we have a job that we should have gotten out of college and we don’t believe that the job market is going to give us much of a chance.” So, that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. And so, if you’re feeling that 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 much of a 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 all should be really understanding of that and we should try to do the best we can not to be, you know, a wet blanket on idealism. You want people to be idealistic. You want them to set big goals. But to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals. I mean, getting our country to 100 percent universal coverage is a big deal. Getting that Affordable Care Act to work better for people, getting the costs down so that people feel they can afford the care that they now have access to, that’s a big deal. You know, going after infrastructure, manufacturing, combatting climate change by setting some big goals like half a billion new solar panels by the end of my first term and enough clean power to power every home in America by the end of my second term, that’s a big goal. So what we have to do, and what I’m trying to do, is to make the case that we’ve got ideals, we’ve got big goals, but we also believe that the path to progress is one that you just have to get up every day and work on. You have to make it your life’s work, if you do this full-time. You have to make it part of your civic responsibility for others, and just keep making that case. [The Washington Free Beacon, 9/27/16]

Foreign Policy: Experts Believe Audio Was Leaked “By Russian-Backed Hackers To Disrupt The U.S. Presidential Election.” Foreign Policy magazine reported that security experts believe the audio posted by the Washington Free Beacon was obtained “by Russian-backed hackers to disrupt the U.S. presidential election,” adding that “The hack reinforces concerns that Russia is trying to influence and interfere in the U.S. election in favor of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.” From the September 30 Foreign Policy article:

Another day on the campaign trail, another hack of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. This time it’s an audio recording of the Democratic presidential candidate speaking to donors at a February fundraiser in northern Virginia, and the subject isn’t just the usual stuff of politics: It goes to the heart of American nuclear strategy.

The recording that was passed to the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon website marks another alarming episode in a campaign season marked by a series of digital thefts that security experts believe have been carried out by Russian-backed hackers to disrupt the U.S. presidential election.

The hack reinforces concerns that Russia is trying to influence and interfere in the U.S. election in favor of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and whose aides have long had friendly ties to Moscow and its allies. Both the Clinton campaign and lawmakers have alleged that Russia is attempting to meddle in the election. [Foreign Policy, 9/30/16]

Fox News Attempts To Sensationalize Hacked Audio By Mischaracterizing Clinton’s Statements

Tucker Carlson: “Behind Closed Doors” Clinton “Trashes” Millennials. Fox host Tucker Carlson asserted that while “Hillary Clinton begs for millennials to vote for her … behind closed doors, she trashes them.” From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday:

TUCKER CARLSON (CO-HOST): And out on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton begs for millennials to vote for her, please. But, behind closed doors, she trashes them.


Yeah, she’s a little different in private than what she looks like in public. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 10/1/16]

Ed Henry: Clinton Is Saying That “Half Of Sanders’ Supporters Are Living In The Basement And Are Losers.” Fox chief national correspondent Ed Henry blasted Clinton’s remarks, falsely claiming that she said that “Half of Sanders’ supporters are living in the basement and are losers.” Tucker Carlson added that the audio shows that Clinton “has total contempt for her supporters.” From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday (emphasis added):

TUCKER CARLSON (CO-HOST): Hillary Clinton, totally different in person. And we have more evidence of that this morning.


ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): What's wrong with being a barista by the way? Some people love that job. It's a good job.

CARLSON: She has total contempt for her supporters. That’s the point. If you’re not a hedge fund manager --

ED HENRY (CO-HOST): And for Bernie Sanders, by the way.

CARLSON: Exactly. If you’re not part of the establishment, Hillary Clinton doesn't like you. She doesn't think you have legitimate concerns. She thinks you are a loser who’s whining from your mom’s basement.

HENRY: That was February. But this coming Monday, real-time, she’s on the trail again, I believe in Ohio, with Bernie Sanders. They’ve done this before. They were just in New Hampshire a couple days ago. All smiles, hugging, they were posting photos on Instagram the other day, they’re pals now. But in private, she’s saying his supporters, they’re living in mom's basement because they’re losers, number one. And number two, isn't it fascinating that in -- you know, in these fundraisers, Hillary Clinton tells you what she really thinks?


HUNTSMAN: You think about the deplorables comment that she did make about Donald Trump’s supporters. And here she is hitting on Bernie Sanders’ supporters. So who are you fighting for? It’s sort of like a 10, 20 percent group of people there.

HENRY: Right, so she’s called half of Donald Trump's supporters a basket of deplorables. Now she’s saying, and she used the phrase half again, Half of Sanders' supporters basically are living in the basement and are losers. So that's about half the country now that she’s saying I don’t care about. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 10/1/16]

Fox’s Jesse Watters: “She’s Basically Calling These People Broke And Delusional.” Fox host Jesse Watters asserted that Clinton was “basically calling these people broke and delusional.” From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday (emphasis added):

JESSE WATTERS: This is a 47 percent thing and it’s going to hurt her with her base now. I mean, she’s basically calling these people broke and delusional. I see Trump amplifying this for the next two months, big time. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 10/1/16]

Neil Cavuto: Clinton’s Comments “Might Be Offensive.” Fox host Neil Cavuto claimed that Clinton is telling people who supported Bernie Sanders that “the best they can hope for is being baristas,” adding “That might be offensive.” From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ Cost of Freedom: Countdown to the Showdown:

NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): What she's saying essentially is those supporters of Bernie Sanders who she is trying to corral now is that, well, they're angry and they're living in their parents' basement, and the best they can hope for is being baristas. That might be offensive. [Fox News, Cost of Freedom: Countdown to the Showdown, 10/1/16]

Politico Revises Similar Earlier Piece “To Better Reflect Clinton’s Tone”

Politico Updates Article That Claimed Clinton Was “Mocking” Sanders’ Supporters. Politico revised a September 30 article that used the Wash. Free Beacon’s report about the hacked audio, which originally stated that Clinton was “mocking Bernie Sanders supporters” in her remarks. The updated Politico article includes a note saying the the piece was revised “to better reflect Clinton’s tone.” [Politico, 9/30/16; Twitter, 9/30/16]

Sanders Deputy Communications Director Points Out Clinton Wasn’t Patronizing Sanders Supporters

Mike Casca: Clinton Is “Clearly Saying She Gets Why Bernie’s Supporters Are Frustrated.” Sanders’ deputy communications director Mike Casca explained in a tweet that the Politico piece was “incredibly misleading,” writing that Clinton is “clearly saying she gets why Bernie’s supporters are frustrated.” From the September 30 tweet:

[Twitter, 9/30/16]

Journalists Note That Clinton’s Comments Are Merely “Normal Stuff”

STAT’s Dylan Scott: Clinton’s Comments “Don’t Sound That Different Than What She Said Repeatedly During [The] Primary.”

[Twitter, 10/1/16]

CNBC’s John Harwood: Clinton’s Comments Are “Normal Stuff” That “Doesn’t Actually Make Her Look Bad.”

[Twitter, 10/1/16]