On a campaign swing in Iowa Tuesday, Hillary Clinton actually answered reporter questions for the first time in several weeks and Periscope quickly relayed video and beat the cable news networks.
For sure, the substantive politics of her surprise was overriding. After many days of media pressure, she finally took a few queries.
A decision to do so surely had something to do with getting out in front of some stories, all the more so with the State Department’s Tuesday announcement that her disputed emails from her tenure as Secretary of State might not be released until early January.
While she indicated Tuesday during a staged event that she would mull taking questions from the assembled media, she didn’t specifically say yes at that point, noted Steve Scully, who oversees C-SPAN’s political coverage.
Then, suddenly, the staged event over, she ambled over to the press and took a few.
Several reporters quickly started sending live video via Periscope. That prompted NBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert to tweet, “Also, little history right there–Periscope beat daily cable by a lot on HRC impromptu presser.”
She was asked about whether there was any conflict of interest in various speaking engagements prior to her announcing her candidacy and said succinctly, “No.”
Given the ambiguity of whether she would take questions, the so-called network TV “pool” camera scrambled to get video fed to a transmission point for subsequent use.
“Periscope technology doesn’t require the logistics often involved with a live feed, so yes, they can get it out quicker in situations like this,” said Scully in an email to me.
“Technology is moving at a rapid pace, and today’s situation is an example of just that. But even so, nobody can match the current cable audience. Nevertheless, we all need to be adaptable to the changes which allow people to get their news, video and information on SO many platforms,” he wrote.
The unplanned two and a half minutes even prompted an oddity captured in a tweet by Sam Stein, a reporter for Huffington Post:
“CSPAN camera has been forced to film someone’s smartphone to get footage of Clinton.”
Meanwhile, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny tweeted, “I asked Clinton about Sidney Blumenthal.” That referred to a former journalist and longtime confidant of Clinton who was subject of an unflattering New York Times piece on Tuesday that raised questions about mixing advice and personal business.
“’I have many, many old friends…I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are,’” he tweeted her as replying.
And, as Russert also tweeted, “Question shouted at HRC as she walked away, ‘Do you regret deleting 30,000 other emails!’ HRC walks off, ‘thank you very much.'”
So while Periscope captured Clinton’s diversion from her very scripted campaign, neither it nor its new army of loyal users could stop her from exiting the scene when she had enough spontaneity.