Now that Barack Obama is cruising to an electoral win on Tuesday, his campaign poo-bahs have decided to play hardball kicking the harshest media critics of the Illinois Senator off Air Obama.
Reporters from Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, Rev. Moon’s Washington Timesand Belo’s Dallas Morning News have been given the boot. Each of those papers has endorsed John McCain for President. Is there a coincidence here? This blogger smells a rat.
Ousting reporters from the campaign plane, a mere four days before the election, is vindictive and small-minded. At the very least, its bad PR and seriously out-of-touch with the perception of a campaign that prides itself in being cool and in control.
The indispensable Washington Times neatly turned the tables on Obama, while giving McCain a thumb’s up. Executive editor, John Solomon, said giving reporter Christina Bellantoni the heave-ho is the “journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth.” Explained Solomon: “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.” The WT deserves a refund.
Aussie Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post, gleefully took advantage of Team Obama’s pettiness. “We are happy to be on the outside looking in. It’s what makes the New York Post special. We are not in the news business to be liked.” The Post earns a point for journalist integrity, though it is concentrating more these days on the secret helicopter rendezvous of Madge and A-Rod at Jerry Seinfeld's Hamptons estate.
The DMN, by far the least feisty paper of the exiled trio, took a pass on the episode and gave Obama the benefit of the doubt. “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,” wrote Ryan Rusak. He swallowed Team Obama’s line that seats are limited.
Obama spokesperson Anita Dunn says it really, really, really was a hard decision to get rid of thorns in the campaign’s side like the WT and NYP. Demand for those seats was just too gosh darn high, according to Dunn, especially as the coronation of Obama draws nigh. She said it was a “hard and unpleasant” decision to toss the reporters from the plane. Dunn would have one to believe that campaign staffers would rather stick needles in their eyes than needlessly needle the media.
Team Obama needs to come back down to Earth. Obama may go crawling to the WT and NYP (for reasons yet unclear) during the next eight years. He should make amends. How about inviting the tossed three back onto the plane, sitting them right next to the “Chosen One?”
That could be the start of a beautiful relationship.