Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail on Thursday after taking several days off to recover from a bout of pneumonia. She boarded her plane and checked in with the press, planning a formal Q and A for later.
CNN still switched over from their normally scheduled broadcast to cover the brief exchange between Clinton and her traveling press corps, but the only breaking news they got was a glimpse into the Democratic nominee’s television habits:
Clinton speaks to press in first appearance since pneumonia diagnosis: "I'm feeling great." https://t.co/KGg92nIR6t
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 15, 2016
Clinton explained to reporters that she would be available for questions following her speech in North Carolina, but then the conversation turned to CBS’s “Madam Secretary,” which Clinton said that she was “so into”:
“I actually get a big kick out of it. I watched it with a little bit of, you know, skepticism at first, but I got so into it. I liked the story lines – good, quasi-realistic story lines.”
A few fans of the show were amused by Clinton’s revelation:
I love seeing Hillary talking about the CBS show Madam Secretary. I love that show too! https://t.co/7EoTJ573VL
— Politics Village (#StillWithHer) (@PoliticsVillage) September 15, 2016
And one referenced a conspiracy theory that first surfaced when “Madam Secretary” premiered two years ago — that the show was in its entirety essentially a propaganda piece designed to promote Hillary Clinton:
Hillary tells reporters she is a fan of CBS's "Madam Secretary" – a show made to promote her campaign for President. So, there ya go.
— Karen Townsend (@penguinponders) September 15, 2016
When the show first aired, Kevin Fallon wrote the following comparison for The Daily Beast:
“To be fair, Leoni’s McCord is nothing like Hillary Clinton, or at least not the persona of Hillary Clinton we’ve crafted in the media. She’s sort of persistently exasperated and relentlessly sarcastic.
As concerned as she may be with having it all, she’s perhaps more interested in knowing it all. And perhaps even more than that, she’s concerned with everyone in the room knowing that she knows it all. More like, secretary of smug, amiright?”
And actor Tim Daly, who plays the husband opposite “Madam Secretary,” weighed in as well: “We’re not making a documentary about Hillary Clinton. We’re not trying to support her supposed run for [the] presidency.”
But many expressed concern that, after a health scare and a break from her campaign, Clinton was not being asked more substantial questions:
Hillary's Back: Press on airplane is BRUTAL: they discuss the Madam Secretary TV show.?
— Virginia Bentz (@VirginiaBentz) September 15, 2016
If it were simply a case of the press giving Clinton a break due to her illness, it might be less of an issue. But it isn’t the first time people have noticed.
They took note of the lack of substance in her post Labor Day press conference – her first in some 250 days:
Hillary answers 6 softball questions from her media admirers and they call it a 'press conference?' lol — It was ghoulish.
— Anthony (@moeursalen) September 8, 2016
They noticed when Matt Lauer didn’t exactly hold Clinton’s feet to the fire:
— ?? Cris ?? (@ThePatriot006) September 8, 2016
And they have noticed a similar trend in a number of other interviews since the beginning of the campaign — including one during which MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Clinton if she even wanted to answer the question.