Thursday, September 25, 2008

No questions, please

(I started this post long ago today in the distant past before I was required to make a harrowing journey to the five-sided palace on the Potomac. Doesn't matter why I was there, what matters is that it took six hours of my life I'll never get back. Oh, yeah, I also had to walk through the rain to get back to my car.)

Tuesday John McCain's campaign broke not one, but two rules when it comes to dealing with the media. After almost 30 years in politics and two years on the campaign trail, I was surprised.

The first rule he broke is: The media decides what's news. This kinda goes back to the joke about how there's always just enough news to fit in the paper every day.

When Sarah Palin's handlers decided to exclude producers and reporters from a photo spray of the Veep candidate and some world leaders, they were told "Thanks, but if we can't have them in there, we're not going to take pictures of her chatting it up with Hamid Karzai."

The decision was quickly reversed.

The second, and more important, rule they broke (again), was when the campaign got angry at the media for taking a stand. Calling the media names violates the "Don't pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel." Because you calling them names is what they're going to report to fill their limited space.

Now this may not seem like a big deal, and some may in fact enjoy seeing members of the fourth estate put in their place (even I do some times), but it misses the point. When I worked as a reporter it was my job to go to the places and meetings and such other people didn't have the time for. I, and my fellow reporters, took this task very seriously because, as boring as a city council meeting about next year's tax rate may be, it's something that affects everyone.

Palin has spoken to many cheering audiences since her nomination, but answered questions from reporters only three times. I don't think it's too unreasonable to expect her to answer a couple of questions on the record seeing as how, ya know, she's asking for your vote for veep.


Lemmonex said...

Yes, reporters are difficult sometimes. (God, don't I know it. I dated one. You people and your facts make it really hard to argue.) But reporters are also essential. Tough to ignore, McCain.

fyi--my word verification if "gopnag". How appropriate.

FoggyDew said...

Lem - you're right. The problem with reporters is we come into contact with so much information on so many different things it's tough not to have a fact handy.

Love the verification word. Me thinks the interwebs know you too well.

Shannon said...

Who is worse to live with: a reporter or a lawyer? I vote lawyers...not only do they have a fact for everything, they turn even a two-minute spat into a three-hour ordeal.

LivitLuvit said...

Necessary evils: we has them. At least we have Fox News to give us the unbiased report.