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Democratic National Chairwoman Donna Brazile lashed out Thursday night at Russian cyberattacks on her party and American political institutions, suggesting "there once was a time when both campaigns and both political parties would condemn it."

Those attacks largely have been directed at the Democratic Party along with state election sites in an apparent attempt to "manipulate an election, disrupt or discredit or destroy our democracy" and ultimately try to "produce an outcome more favorable to them and their interests," Brazile said.

U.S. intelligence officials have pointed the finger at Russia in attempting to identify the source of the cyberattacks.

"They want to stir up strife, try to influence the game," Brazile said during an address to about 300 persons who attended a Hearst Speaker Series address sponsored by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. 

In wide-ranging remarks, Brazile challenged the media, especially television networks, to engage in "some self-reflection after this election" and reassess "the way they treat news."

"There's no time to talk about things that matter to us," she said. What is billed as news is largely superficial and comes packaged and mislabeled as "breaking news."

Rather than substance, she said, "It's a sound and light show."

"It may be good for ratings, but it's bad for civil discourse," Brazile said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump probably has gained about $3.5 billion worth of free advertising with TV coverage of "all Trump, all the time," she said.

Brazile aimed some of her remarks directly at Nebraska.

"I would love to get one electoral vote here; we can do it," she said, targeting metropolitan Omaha's 2nd Congressional District presidential electoral vote.

"The big issue in this state is the death penalty," Brazile noted.

"Be sure you don't go back. It's unfair and unjust, (and) it's morally and ethically wrong."

Nebraskans will vote next month on a referendum that would restore the death penalty, erasing the Legislature's repeal of capital punishment last year.

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Hacking into Democratic Party sites and distributing that information is akin to "someone stealing your playbook" before the Huskers play Indiana on Saturday, Brazile suggested.

Answering questions following her address, Brazile said millennials ultimately may determine whether Hillary Clinton or Trump is elected president next month.

"You're it," she told students and other young people in the Student Union auditorium.  

"You're the largest and most consequential generation," Brazile said. And Clinton "needs to address the future (and) engage millennials" during the remaining days before Nov. 8.

In answer to another question, Brazile said: "Don't demonize Trump supporters."

"We don't do enough to address invisible poverty," she said, the kind that leaves many Americans feeling "marginalized and living on the outskirts of hope. They feel betrayed."

But, she said, "nothing shows us that (Trump) cares about them. He talks loud and says nothing."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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