Clinton at Rushmore: Our Soundbite Culture Paralyzes

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I find this interaction sad:

Clinton stood before the four former presidents [on Mount Rushmore] and listened in as a park ranger explained some of the history. At one point, she was asked if she could one day picture herself up there. She smirked and shook her head as she contemplated whether to offer a quick soundbite.

“I …” she started to say, before throwing her hands up.

“You think Bill Clinton should be up there?” another reporter asked.

“Why don’t you learn something about the monument,” Clinton finally said, before walking away to greet some more tourists.

Maybe Clinton is fatigued and frustrated and beleaguered. Maybe the soundbite-hungry nature of our culture, our technology, and our media weighed so heavily on her mind she was unable to say anything, paralyzed by the fear that she would again make instant, accidental, and unwanted news.

I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I’m strongly and perhaps irrationally sympathetic.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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