Stiff-Arming the Press

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jun 19, 2008 12:03 PM
The course of true love never did run smooth.  Despite his glowing coverage, Barack is now stiff-arming the press in ways that would elicit howls of outrage were a Republican to try it.  As the New York Times notes today:

The campaign on Monday barred cameras from a large gathering of African-American civic leaders Mr. Obama attended. It recently refused to provide names of religious figures with whom Mr. Obama met in Chicago and directed some of them to avoid reporters by using a special exit.

As I've noted before, the press had better get used to it.  In contrast to John McCain, who offers press access to a fault, the Obama team knows that it's dealing with an inexperienced candidate with some very strange associates ranging from Jeremiah Wright to Bill Ayers.

As my Townhall column this week pointed out:

[W]hen it comes to the national press, Obama has already made it clear that he intends to keep his distance. In contrast with John McCain – a man who clearly relishes give-and-take with the media – Obama has been considerably less forthcoming. Back in February, another Politico piece headlined “Barack Obama stiffs, stifles national press,” noted that “as [Obama] moves closer to clinching the Democratic nomination he is establishing himself as the candidate who keeps the most distance from the national media.” Handling the first press tempest of his candidacy, a push for information about his ties to convicted political fundraiser Tony Rezko, Obama memorably walked out after taking only eight questions.

His discomfort with the D.C. press corps is notable, given how almost universally positive the coverage of him has been. But it’s perhaps predictable for a candidate who never received a thorough vetting either in his three elections to the Illinois state Senate or his single U.S. Senate campaign – and who was memorably described as a “one-man gaffe machine” in a rare negative press assessment. Even minor mistakes and missteps can be poison to a candidate whose experience is open to question.

No one in the press need waste time hoping that the stiff-arm policy of the Obama campaign will change any time soon.