Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton spoke before a conference of black and Hispanic journalists Friday, but it was the response of the crowd that drew criticism online.
Reporters and conservative pundits criticized those in attendance at the joint National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Washington, D.C., for applauding after some of Clinton’s remarks.
But those in the crowd noted that the audience included a lot of people who are not actually journalists, including public relations and communications professionals, as well as columnists and commentators who are supposed to have opinions.
“Here’s what people don’t understand. First and foremost, the room is not filled just with journalists,” Roland Martin, a journalist who moderated a panel prior to Clinton’s remarks, told TIME. “You hear a smattering of applause in the room. Also there are people in the room who are opinion folks.”
The event also drew complaints that it was not a real press conference.
The presidents of both the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists both introduced Clinton and called the event a press conference. During their statements, it was mentioned that Republican nominee Donald Trump was invited to attend but declined.
Clinton, who opened with her own remarks before taking questions, has not held a formal press conference in more than 240 days, earning criticism from reporters and her traveling press corps. She has given one-on-one interviews since then, including an extensive one with Vox’s Ezra Klein.
But the fact that the eight questions were chosen by a moderator left many to conclude that the event was not a press conference.
With reporting from Sam Frizell
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