Bad news for the remaining presidential candidates, but primarily, in this case, Hillary Clinton: if you don’t binge watch a Netflix show at the rate of an everyday inert American, you’re liable to unwittingly embarrass yourself on the campaign trail.
Yesterday at a town hall in Iowa, the Daily Caller reports, a person in the audience asked Clinton if she had any thoughts on the criminal justice system vis a vis Making a Murderer, the Netflix series that has turned everyone in America into amateur crime scene investigators. Clinton, it turned out, wasn’t familiar with the show, but she decided to hazard an answer anyway, which ended up being a regrettable choice for the simple fact that she clearly seems to think the show, which focuses on a white man named Steven Avery, is about black people:
“I think we do have a systemic problem in our criminal justice system,” Clinton said, adding that “it is true that there’s enough evidence to show that if you are an African-American man you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated for doing the same thing as a white man. And there’s just a lot of evidence of that. And of course, if you are poor that makes it even more likely.”
And who could blame her? Given what we know about the prejudices of the American criminal justice system, it would be backwards to assume otherwise: that a show about a wrongly convicted man took place in an all-white community involving a white defendant. Various studies have shown that somewhere between half and two-thirds of wrongfully convicted inmates in this country are black, so that Clinton gave a pat, standard answer implicating those exact statistics doesn’t exactly qualify as a shocking turn of events.
The good news, perhaps, is that a new job might sprout up among the 2016 campaigns requiring a staffer to watch prestige television in preparation for daily briefings with their candidate. It would at least beat making tweets.
Update (7:47 p.m.) Via a tipster, here’s the full text of what the attendee asked Clinton and the part of her answer cited by the Daily Caller, which makes it clear that the question was about more than Making a Murderer, but that Hillary nonetheless seemed to assume the accused in the show was a black man:
QUESTION: Thank you for being here Madam Secretary, my question is over the holidays, a documentary came out called “Making a Murderer.” I don’t know if you are familiar with it, but it’s about a man and his nephew who are in prison for a murder even though there are serious questions about whether or not they were framed by local law enforcement. It raises a bigger question about our judicial system, where we seem to railroad poor people and uneducated people into prison, even when there are serious questions about their guilt or the denial of their constitutional rights. So I guess my question is what can we do to fix our broker judicial system in this country? That’s a cause that I know was very near and dear to a mutual friend of ours, Don O’Brien.
HILLARY CLINTON: Yes I was privileged to know Judge O’Brien and thank you for that question.
I think we do have a systemic problem in our criminal justice system. I believe we can get bipartisan support to address it. Because it is now very apparent we have a couple of big issues. One, it is true that there’s enough evidence to show that if you are an African American man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated for doing the same thing as white man. There’s just a lot of evidence of that.
[image via Getty]
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.