FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Do not endorse Obama, do not keep your seat on the Obama Express
It's like Monopoly, but more monopolistic
The Obama campaign has bumped representatives from three major newspapers that endorsed John McCain for president over Obama off of its campaign plane for the final days of the race.
The Dallas Morning News, Washington Times, and New York Post “have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs — and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET,” according to Drudge.
The Times confirmed the move in a report filed today, which said in part:
The Obama campaign informed the newspaper Thursday evening of its decision, which came two days after The Times editorial page endorsed Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama. The Times editorial page runs completely independent of the news department.
“This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama’s campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporter’s pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign,” said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon.
“I hope the candidate that promises to unite America isn’t using a litmus test to determine who gets to cover his campaign.”
Emphasis added. More below the fold.
According to Drudge:
[Sources] told the DRUDGE REPORT that the reporters are being ousted to bring on documentary film-makers to record the final days; others expect to see on board more sympathetic members of the media, including the NY TIMES’ Maureen Dowd, who once complained that she was barred from McCain’s Straight Talk Express airplane.
This speaks to two major issues with the Obama campaign. First is its continued obsession with its own grandeur and place in history. From faux presidential seals, to hybrid Greek temples/White Houses, to documentary filmmakers, this is a campaign that has been built entirely on marketing and inkblots, repeatedly chronicling and extolling its own grandeur while actually offering nothing to those it hopes to woo but formless and ephemeral words like “hope” and “change.”
The second, and far more serious, of these issues is the Obama campaign’s willingness to punish journalistic outlets who dare dissent by denying them access — a tactic which puts media in the position of deciding whether to simply report some of the news, and couch it in favorable terms, or lose their ability to report any news at all.
We have seen how some in the media respond to being forced into such a difficult position in the past. CNN’s Eason Jordan, for example, was required to spike almost all real news out of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq due to fear of losing his network’s access to the country.
Being forced to spin, spike, or fabricate reportage in exchange for access begs the question why that access matters in the first place, if it cannot be used to actually serve an honest journalistic purpose. While that question can (and perhaps will) be debated in journalistic ethics classes, the simple fact remains: this is a very disturbing move by the Obama campaign, and it appears to portend even more disturbing moves of this sort in the future.