Off the Plane.

From Ben Smith:

Obama spokesman Bill Burton confirms Drudge’s report that two right-leaning papers, the Washington Times and the New York Post, have lost their seats on the Obama plane, along with the Dallas Morning News.

“We’re trying to reach as many swing voters that we can and unfortunately had to make some tough choices. but we are accommodating these folks in every way possible,” he said.

The Post and the Morning News are both read primarily in states that aren’t in play, but the Washington Times is read in Northern Virginia.

Burton said the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times had returned to the plane, and confirmed that Ebony and Jet magazines have seats on the plane. (The Tribune has had a reporter on the plane for most of the cycle, but recently added a photographer.)

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said in an email that, contrary to Drudge’s suggestion, she won’t be on Obama’s plane.

“I’ll be at Saturday Night Live covering Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin and possibly the real John McCain,” she said.

Burton said the campaign was making space for the dropped outlets on the campaign bus where possible, and that they were encouraged to travel with Senator Joe Biden. He also noted that Fox News, whose schedule includes perhaps the most openly hostile programming to Obama, has a seat on the plane.

McCain barred Dowd and Time’s Joe Klein, two columnists seen as leaning toward Obama, from his campaign plane, and space has grown very tight on Obama’s in recent days. But Obama aides have also been heard to complain about the coverage from the New York Post and the Washington Times, if not as vociferously as they have about Fox News’s coverage.

Besides just being wild childish, this does not augur well for transparency in an Obama administration, which has already been eerily good with its message discipline for this entire campaign cycle. (Their campaign has been pretty much leak-free.)

Haven’t we had enough of this kind of stuff under GWB?

12 thoughts on “Off the Plane.

  1. blackink October 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm Reply

    Yeah, transparency and access have been two notable weak spots in the Obama campaign this year.

    But, you know, it’s tough for me to complain when Ebony and Jet get a seat on the plane. When was the last time anyone ever allowed them to bigfoot a New York or Washington publication? Never?

  2. shani-o October 31, 2008 at 4:35 pm Reply

    I think you’re overreacting. Check out this bit about the Dallas Morning News:

    It’s not as simple as Drudge would have you believe. It seems like they’re doing some shuffling to maximize coverage. It’s not gonna do them any good to have the NYP, which has consistently trashed them, or the WashTimes (have you read it? It’s a blatantly partisan paper) in seats that could go to papers and reporters that haven’t had as much access. Plus, they offered spots to the kicked-off journalists on Biden’s plane.

  3. shani-o October 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm Reply

    BTW, leaks aren’t the same thing as transparency.

  4. G.D. October 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm Reply

    thanks for the link.

    and of course they aren’t, but they take on outsized importance (especially ‘unofficial’ leaks) when an outfit is as relentlessly on message as the Obama campaign has been. Look at the role they played in the Bush administration, which was tight-fisted about any contrary information. From the outside, they pushed the idea that there was no internal dissent, even in the run-up to war.

    do you think the Obama campaign has been transparent? because in-the-bubble journalists have been complaining about the lack of access they’ve had to ol’ boy all campaign long.

  5. shani-o October 31, 2008 at 5:15 pm Reply

    Transparent about what, exactly? Access to what? It’s all so vague. Do reporters want to sit in on internal meetings? Do they want to be cc’d on Plouffe’s morning email to staff? Other than being given the slip when Obama met with Hillary for the first time after winning the primaries, I haven’t heard any other specific complaints. Just, “we don’t have access!”

    Frankly, it sounds whiny to me. Tell me what I’m missing.

    (Now, if he doesn’t keep his promise to broadcast certain meetings and negotiations – like healthcare – on C-Span, I’ll be more than a little annoyed.)

  6. G.D. October 31, 2008 at 5:22 pm Reply

    Back in the traveling-on-commercial-flights days, the Obama camp gained a reputation as being stingy with press interviews (unlike, say, McCain, reporters traveling with Obama sat on a completely different bus than the candidate). They had to go through intermediaries to talk to dude about anything, and could only talk to him in the brief periods before he did his stump speech at the campaign stop.

    They weren’t as openly antagonistic toward the press as HRC’s folks, but the general media shut-out isn’t terribly reassuring.

  7. shani-o October 31, 2008 at 5:54 pm Reply

    I think I understand what you’re saying. Unfettered access to the candidate would give the press the ability to ask him questions which might reveal more than the stump speech?

    I still find the exclamations of frustration is annoying. It just sounds like Obama isn’t interested in being popular with the press, and I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    Tell me what you think this lack of access will mean in an Obama administration. Why isn’t it reassuring? Why should it be reassuring?

  8. G.D. November 1, 2008 at 9:22 am Reply

    also, also: Essence and Ebony, those pillars of intrepid journalism, get to keep seats on the plane?

    boo, muhfucka. BOO.

  9. shani-o November 1, 2008 at 10:18 am Reply

    Essence and Jet. And they didn’t have seats on the plane before, they’re *getting* seats for the home stretch. Because, you know, historical significance, and hello, most widely read black magazines in the country. You can’t deny that’s awesome, no matter how much of a hater you are.

    And don’t try to tell me your people don’t have at least one copy Jet on the coffee table when you go home. And moreover, don’t even try to tell me your behind doesn’t flip through it.

  10. G.D. November 1, 2008 at 10:25 am Reply

    Jet??? Jet magazine? Jet “These-are-the-black-people-on-TV-this-week-so-watch!” magazine???

    the mind reels.

  11. quadmoniker November 1, 2008 at 7:46 pm Reply

    I don’t think it’s at all ridiculous for any campaign to maximize its time and effort by cooperating more with papers whose readers they think will respond that those whose would not. It happens all the time.

    On a bigger note, though, I don’t think reporters should be on the plane anyway. It confuses things to much, and I don’t think there’s any story or perspective they get from being on the plane that is worth the trade-offs. They are among a pool of people who all get the same talking points, and the same talking points they would all get on the ground later. This faux cooperation only hurts the readers, because when something does happen the reporters are much more likely to already speak in campaign speak. They’re also just not the kinds of stories that do anyone a service. It’s a bit like the celebrity profile; the point of it is forgotten and everyone’s too afraid to do something that’ll cause them to lose access (or to get kicked off the plane.) So what. They’ll probably get better stories off the plane.

  12. […] And so it begins. […]

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