Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in a recent interview that any negative perceptions voters may have of her are the results of media manipulation.
“The media environment — particularly the social media environment — drives negativity,” Clinton told Vox. “It’s what captures eyeballs. It’s what gets people to tune in or log on. It is just human nature.
“Saying something negative about somebody, whether it was a negative ad 30 years ago or a negative tweet or other allegations today — there’s just a really rich environment for that to capture people’s minds and change their attitudes.”
Clinton admitted that she doesn’t “totally understand” how media and social media factor in to political polarization but said she’s seen “a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective.”
Clinton called herself “Exhibit A” of how that’s true.
“[I]t’s always amusing to me that when I have a job, I have really high approval ratings; when I’m actually doing the work, I get reelected with 67 percent of the vote running for reelection in the Senate,” she said. “When I’m secretary of state, I have [a] 66 percent approval rating.
“And then I seek a job, I run for a job, and all of the discredited negativity comes out again, and all of these arguments and attacks start up. So it seems to be part of the political climate now that is just going to have to be dealt with.”
Clinton, without a hint of irony, went on to lecture about the need for more trust between voters and elites.
“A democracy relies on the glue of trust. You don’t have to agree with me. But I do have to believe, whether it’s an economic transaction or my vote, that there’s a certain expectation. That, yeah, there are people who go off the rails — everybody’s not what they pretend to be, we all know that,” she said. “But in general, there’s got to be that rock-solid belief that this transaction between us as voters and citizens rests on something deep and sacred. And I don’t know how we get back to that.”