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Phil Singer, on Hillary’s 08 Press Operation

Hotline’s Nora McAlvanah profiles former HRC 08 flak Phil Singer in the latest Politics magazine.

Some choice bits:

    “With the exception of [press aide] Jay Carson, they had the worst press operation–for their candidate as well as for the media–of any Democratic campaign I’ve covered in 25 years. Their job was to help reporters, not antagonize them with arrogant behavior and complaints to editors,” says Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter.

    More than anyone else, Singer came to symbolize the underlying problem of Clinton’s ill-fated bid: a notion of inevitability, combined with hostility toward the media. Singer has been accused of everything from bringing NBC’s Andrea Mitchell to tears to spreading a false rumor that political reporter Anne Kornblut was fired from The New York Times. Singer now plainly admits his failings. “I yelled at more reporters than I ever dreamed I’d yell at,” he says. “Honestly, I deeply regret it because not only was it wrong, but it got in the way, it made me less effective.”

    With his candidate down and having burned his bridges with members of the press and his staff, the last few months of the election were difficult at best. The open attitude the press shop hastily adopted in January deteriorated almost as quickly as it started. By March, when the campaign had moved into Texas , traveling reporters were forced to file their stories on Clinton’s Austin town hall event in a men’s room at a separate community center. Right or wrong, Singer got the blame for much of this treatment. “Because of Phil’s professional reputation, he probably got blamed for a lot of things he didn’t do,” Burton says. “And because of his skills, he probably never got blamed for a lot of things he did.”

    By the end of the campaign, Singer wasn’t on speaking terms with four national reporters at The Washington Post, and three members of his own staff say they weren’t speaking to him.

Read the rest here.

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