A CNN national political reporter provided a glimpse of the cozy relationship between some members of the press and political elite Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in a Twitter video that has gone viral.
The free press was hard at work holding US politicians accountable over the weekend. In an incident that occurred at a boutique fashion shop owned by a female entrepreneur in South Carolina, CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston and NBC News political reporter Ali Vitali appeared to have a good time with the senator while discussing her wardrobe.
“You need something this fun,” says Reston, who appears happy to offer the candidate advice. “I know,” Harris replied in the clip.
After the CNN reporter found a sequined dress that might be a good fit for the candidate on the campaign trail, Harris burst into joy after an onlooker noted that the jacket was amazing.
Needless to say, the video sparked a backlash. Twitter user @Toddmcaleer responded, “What an embarrassment. The lack of any self-awareness on how this looks is stunning.”
The CNN reporter fought back against criticism in a tweet:
“What candidates wear (from barn jackets to cowboy boots) can tell the story of who they are or the image they want us to see + I love talking to voters abt [sic.] their gear.”
From the CNN reporter’s perspective, this story is not about ethical journalism, avoiding the appearance of impropriety, or members of the media unapologetically giving politicians advice about what to wear. Instead, it’s about how important fashion is when a candidate is telling their story – which is all the more reason reporters should not be giving politicians advice in exchange for exclusive access.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume called out the CBS News reporter’s tweets, noting that the reporters seemed to invite criticism by “putting out glowing tweets” about shopping with the 2020 presidential candidate.
The only problem with Hume’s tweet was that it didn’t account for female politicians “expanding the list of campaign activities,” according to NBC News political correspondent Kasie Hunt, who also hosts the weekend TV show “MSNBC Kasie DC.”
Former CNN senior digital producer Steve Krakauer observed that the illusion of unbiased, critical journalism by the cable TV networks has been removed Twitter, which he called a “disaster” for journalists.
“Twitter is a disaster for journalists. Before Twitter, the public would just read the reports and assume a bias, but not have such proof.”
Needless to say, this treatment from the press is unlikely to prepare Kamala Harris for intense scrutiny she will inevitably endure as one of the many Democrats competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Harris was previously criticized from the progressive side, too, for launching her campaign with a video that said her vision is to stick up for good values like democracy and freedom and fight against bad values.
Admittedly, the video was likely to upset nobody, but Kamala Harris also missed an opportunity to say what she actually plans on doing if she was to be elected president of the US.
Beating an incumbent US president tends to be a difficult feat: Since 1980, only President George H.W. Bush was not elected to a second term in office. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders may be the only candidate with enough broad-based voter support to knock Trump out of the White House in 2020, as a recent CCN op-ed pointed out.
Kamala Harris Image from REUTERS / Elijah Nouvelage