Hillary Clinton: Today's Media Is More Entertainment, Less Facts

STORRS, Connecticut (CNN) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented the state of journalism on Wednesday, telling an audience at the University of Connecticut that journalism is now driven more by entertainment than fact based reporting.

Clinton, who has been the focus of national media attention since the early 1990s, told the 2,300-person audience that "journalism has changed quite a bit in a way that is not good for the country and not good for journalism."

"A lot of serious news reporting has become more entertainment driven and more opinion-driven as opposed to factual," she said. "People book onto the shows, political figures, commentators who will be controversial who will be provocative because it's a good show. You might not learn anything but you might be entertained and I think that's just become an unfortunate pattern that I wish could be broken."

Clinton's comments came as part of the question and answer portion to Wednesday's event. University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst asked Clinton about how journalism has changed and whether journalists could help break gridlock that has halted work in Washington.

The former secretary of state went on to say that she feels there is a space for "explanatory journalism because there's a lot going on in the world that needs explanation."

The former first lady also had a tip for journalists: Do your homework.

"It's important for journalists to realize that they have to do their homework too and they really should be well-prepared when they interview people, when they talk about issues," she said. "I think that it's with professional tweaking and creativity we could address some of the issues we know are plaguing journalism today."

Clinton has long been the focus of journalists' attention, which at times has caused an acrimonious view of media.

According to the diary of Diane Blair, a longtime Clinton confidant whose personal documents gained media attention earlier this year, Clinton regularly expressed frustration and a deep distrust of the media.

In January 1995, Blair wrote that Clinton expressed "her total exasperation with all this obsession and attention, and how hard she's finding to conceal her contempt for it all." On Thanksgiving Day 1996, Blair wrote that Clinton thought the press was "complete hypocrites."

"Say they want the truth, want power to be transparent, but in fact they prefer the backstage manipulation of B. Bush, N. Reagan, B. Truman, R. Carter," Blair wrote, listing several former first ladies. "On her death bed, wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phoney makeovers to please others."

When her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, many in the White House worried of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" that aimed to take down the Clinton White House. Some of that concern stemmed from the rise of right wing media and blogs.

Clinton's 2008 campaign also suffered from a sometimes tense relationship with the media. In 2008, former President Clinton railed against what he called "the most biased coverage in history," and both Clintons complained of what they believed to be pervasive sexism dominating the campaign narrative.

In response to her remarks, Tim Miller, executive director of American Rising PAC, a conservative research and media super PAC, said Clinton's problem with the media stemmed from "a lack of interest in transparency, not the media. She's never going to like anyone that tries to hold her accountable."

While in Storrs, Clinton also talked about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the future of the Ukraine-Russia relationship and the importance of youth participation.

Because the remarks came at University of Connecticut, a school whose basketball program won both Division I national championship in 2014, the former secretary of state also brandished some of her basketball bona fides, telling the audience that she was "a big fan" of Shabazz Napier, the men's senior guard.

"You just busted every bracket," Clinton said.

Clinton, who has used the last few months to travel the country and deliver paid speeches, has acknowledged that she is thinking about a presidential run in 2016. All polls have her as the Democratic frontrunner and it is like that she would win the nomination if she won.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who attended Wednesday's event, said the former first lady should think about running, while Connecticut's Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he would support Clinton "when and if she does."

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Posted by: Nick Viviani

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