Hillary Clinton Interview With Ezra Klein: Poverty, Deficit Spending, Why America Stopped Trusting Elites

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Hillary Clinton speaks with Vox.com editor Ezra Klein about extreme poverty, welfare reform, increasing deficit spending, immigration and education, and how elites can regain the trust of the people.

Click here for the full transcript

Hillary Clinton on why the American people have stopped trusting elites:

EZRA KLEIN: The invocation of trust there I think is really interesting. You bring up the media. We are one of many institutions that the public, if you look at the polling, has lost trust in tremendously over the last 50 years. They’ve lost trust in their politicians; they’ve lost trust in business; they’ve lost trust in the media.

So when you say that there are gatekeepers who should fact-check — and at Vox, we do a lot of fact-checking — but one issue is that people don’t listen anymore. Why do you think there’s been such a systemic loss of trust across so many different institutions all at once? How do you explain that change in America?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, because I really believe that none of us has done what we should have done in being really straightforward about what we know and what we don’t know. And being willing to say, “We reported that story last week; it turns out we were wrong.” Or, “We didn’t tell you everything you might have needed to make a decision.”

I’ve argued with network executives for 25 years that somebody is going to really figure out that running a news program where you actually say, “Hey, we got that wrong,” or, “I’m not so sure what he just said was right, and I don’t think it is and let me tell you why, and here’s the evidence to that effect.” [A program] where someone is trying to pull the curtain back, as opposed to everyone going back to their corners, whether it’s ratings or whether it’s an ideological position — that’s really what we’re about.

As opposed to, “We have a really solemn responsibility, and we’re going to level with you. You may not like what you hear, but we’re going to try to the best of our ability not to get it wrong. And when we do, we’re going to be the first to tell you.”

I think politicians — look at the nonsense that people say running for office, just ridiculous stuff, and they get away with it because there’s no big gong that rings; “Oh, my God, look what so-and-so just said.” But there should be some reward for trying to get it right and for trying to correct it when you get it wrong. And maybe it’s just too threatening — whether you’re in politics, business, media, wherever you are — maybe it’s too threatening to admit that.

I don’t know how we’re going to rebuild the trust, because it really starts with saying, “Hey, I made a mistake,” or, “I didn’t get it right,” or, “Hey, I’ve got more information, and let me tell you,” and just doing it in a very matter-of-fact way.

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