Friday, October 31, 2008

Barack Obama Campaign Plane Boots Selected Reporters

In a way, I can't blame the Obama campaign for telling three newspapers that their reporters wouldn't be flying on the Obama campaign plane any more. The papers all have something in common. Their editorial pages support John McCain.

The offending newspapers:
  • The Washington Times
    • Unification Church (via News World Communications), owner
  • New York Post
    • Rupert Murdoch, owner
  • The Dallas Morning News
    • A. H. Belo Corporation, owner
As you can see, they're a suspicious-looking bunch. From some points of view.

Obama Campaign Boots Reporters: This is News Not Fit to Print

If you haven't heard about this, I'm not surprised. The New York Times hasn't, as far as I can tell, covered the story, and says that it's the "conservative-leaning Drudge Report" that "fuelled the story today by suggesting that the newspapers were frozen out because their editorial pages have endorsed McCain."

One paper seems to be particularly divisive. revealed that "The Washington Times added to the controversy by publishing a story criticising its exclusion." The audacity!!

From what I've seen, The Washington Times has calmed down. Their story's headline now reads "Washington Times to fly commercial for Obama finale." No negative-sounding "Washington Times kicked off Obama plane for finale," as it ran earlier today. (The divisive headline is back, as of 11:27 a.m. Central / 4:27 p.m. UTC.)

The Three McCain-Supporting Newspapers Just Happened to be Dropped

It could be pure coincidence that the three papers supporting McCain were dropped.

The Dallas Morning News takes what may be a conciliatory tone in one of its blogs:

"...we don't have evidence that the newspaper's endorsement of Sen. McCain had any bearing on the campaign's decision to boot us from the plane....

"...We think the Obama campaign's decision is to some degree more a function of limited seats, and while we're a large regional newspaper, we're not national and we're not in a swing state...."

I'd say that The Dallas Morning News is taking a reasonable, diplomatic, and somewhat prudent, approach.

Meanwhile, at The New York Times

The Gray Lady, meanwhile, is printing the news with the sort of professionalism we've come to expect. From "Records of Obama and McCain as Lawmakers Reflect Differences on Crime:"

"Mr. Obama has emphasized civil liberties, sensitivity to racial inequality and tough penalties for the most violent felons. ... Recent disclosures have revealed that Chicago police officers had tortured suspects into giving false confessions...."

The New York Times says some things to say about McCain, too:

"In a speech ... this year, Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, called for tougher punishment for violent offenders and appeared to disagree with Mr. Obama's contention that the prison population is too high. ... Mr. McCain has also opposed assault rifle bans and restrictions ..., positions contrary to those of Mr. Obama...."

McCain Campaign Booted Reporters, Too

The Dallas Morning News' blog points out that the McCain campaign removed reporters from their campaign airplane, too.

On the other hand, the McCain campaign, which apparently couldn't afford a 30-minute World Series infomercial, added a second airplane to accommodate reporters.

The Nice News Candidate?

This blog isn't political, but it is concerned with many aspects of the War on Terror: including the presence, or absence, of freedom in nations.

Barack Obama's campaign presumably reflects some of Mr. Obama's attitudes and values. Including his assumptions about freedom of the press.

Recently, the Obama campaign blacklisted a Florida television station, WFTV, for giving Joe Biden an opportunity to address Obama's association with Marxists, and interest in Marxism.

Now, the Obama campaign has removed reporters from the "Change We Can Believe In" airliner. It's possible that the reporters were excluded because the Obama campaign can't afford a second airliner.

Possible, but unlikely. Barack Obama has raised a huge amount of money from small donations, and the occasional $500,000 token of esteem. As of October 27, 2008, the score in terms of campaign money was:
  • Barack Obama
    • $639,000,000 raised
    • $573,000,000 spent
  • John McCain
    • $360,000,000 raised
    • $293,000,000 spent

The amount spent leaves the McCain campaign with a bit more money:
  • Barack Obama
    • $66,000,000 left
  • John McCain
    • $67,000,000 left
That's pretty close though, so I think it's reasonable to assume that the Obama campaign's decision to limit close journalistic access to Obama supporters isn't a matter of poverty.

I think it's more likely that Barack Obama doesn't like embarrassing questions. That's natural enough. What's disturbing is that he's establishing a track record, before becoming president, of being willing to blacklist television stations and remove reporters who are do not approve of his policies, and do not maintain a polite reticence about his colorful past.

American news under an Obama administration might be much nicer and less divisive than it is now. Better, no. But nicer.

Related post, in another blog: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.