Off The Plane

In general, I think this kind of thing is petty and stupid, just like I did when the McCain crew did it to Joe Klein:

The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states — and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!

The NY POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs — and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

But then I remembered that the New York comPost regularly features crap like this, and I guess I will just have to deal with the shame of my hypocrisy when I laugh out loud. I guess the Post and the Washington Times will have to fly commercial or rely on more credible sources, like WorldNetDaily.

42 replies
  1. 1
    The Moar You Know says:

    In general, I think this kind of thing is petty and stupid, just like I did when the McCain crew did it to Joe Klein

    I thought it was fucking hilarious when McCain’s people booted Klein off the plane.

    But seriously, why would Obama keep these guys on the plane? It’s not just that their papers have endorsed McCain, it’s that these guys are participating in perpetuating some of the most horrendous smears about Obama. Why waste the fuel?

  2. 2
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Petty, or a better use of resources?

    "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.

  3. 3
    Rick Taylor says:

    I have mixed feelings about it too. Remember there was that crazy interview where interviewer quoted Marx to Biden? In the end, I think it’s better if Obama doesn’t play games like this, but I understand the motivation, especially when the Republicans have been doing it all the way to back to Reagan without paying much of a price.

  4. 4
    Brian J says:

    @ Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse,

    You posted the link I was going to bring up.

    Perhaps there’s some example of McCain doing the same thing as Obama, but it looks like McCain banned people from traveling with his campaign, whereas Obama gave prime seating to specific people and outlets but still let them travel with the campaign in another capacity. In other words, with McCain, they were banned for good, but with Obama, they were shuffled.

    I think the more worrisome trend is the McCain camp not allowing certain people into their rallies or even forcibly removing people who were doing nothing but waiting for it to begin. Via Pandagon, we see that the President of Penn State wasn’t allowed into a rally, and that the McCain campaign removed a girl who claimed she actually voted for McCain for no other reason than the idea that she was young, so she must be a trouble-making Obama supporter. That’s right, my friends, John McCain is removing his own supporters from rallies. That’s just a maverickey thing to do!

  5. 5
    Brian J says:

    Actually, the best part of that Pandagon link was the first comment:

    The Penn State thing is totally stupid. The campus is hosting the event even if they rented the Bryce Jordan Event Center. He just wanted to welcome her to campus, a campus which is the home of a prominent Republican, Joe Paterno. It was simply needless rudeness.

    Which is where the problem begins. Who the hell does the advance work for that campaign? Do they not understand the importance of Penn State, not just in PA but nationwide?

    First, PSU has over 80,000 students at 24 campuses, with a proportionately large number of faculty and staff. It’s not just Happy Valley, it’s the entire state.

    PSU has an alumni association of over 450,000 nation- and worldwide. It’s the largest dues paying alumni association in the world. of those alumni, students, faculty, and staff are fanatics for their university. I know because I’ve encountered people all over the US and in foreign countries who, when they saw me wearing the Blue and White, often began chanting, “We are…Penn State. We are…Penn State” as they passed me in the street.

    Insulting Graham Spanier simply would incense them. The alumni sites are already burning up with this story. This is NOT great for John McCain.

    This is too funny for words to describe.

  6. 6
    Bootlegger says:

    I don’t see the moral equivalence here. There is no evidence that Barry’s staff did this to punish those media outlets and these are not the only media to endorse McCain. Correlation is not causation.

    Besides you gotta love the irony of Barry telling them to ride in the back of the bus.

  7. 7
    Andrew says:

    There are a finite number of seats on the plan. And from the article it appears that there are a greater number of people requesting seats than they can provide.

    This strikes me as different than the Joe Klein/Maureen Dowd circumstance with McCain. In that case, there were still empty seats on the plane; but they were still refused entry.

  8. 8
    Vincent says:

    I have to disagree with John here. If there are X number of seats on a plane and they’re all filled up, should Obama instead remove his own reporters for the sake of ‘balance’? Until there’s evidence that this was done to punish rather than an efficient allocation of resources I don’t see an equivalence.

  9. 9
    Tom65 says:

    Drudge is pushing another stupid equivalence story? What a surprise.

  10. 10
    Anon says:

    Considering that Essence and Jet haven’t really gotten any sit down time with either candidate (I think Essence did an interview with John McCain in May and Obama did one over the Summer), maybe its about giving additional, more low-key media outlets a chance?

    Not to mention that the Times and the NY Post are pretty awful.

    Btw, saw the Penn State story and wow… it reads like a soap opera! If McCain’s aide really did say all that stuff about escorting kings (lol… seems a bit far-fetched) then he’s an idiot. It was stupid not to allow the President to the event as well. Just wondering if it was a miscommunication or not. Either way, sounds like the President is pissed.

  11. 11
    eric k says:

    I think there is some false equivilency going on here. When McCain kicks off Klein or Dowd specifically he isn’t kicking out Time or the Times, he is telling them who he will allow to cover him, pretty presumptious. When Obama’s plane is full and he wants to allow a different set of papers on he has to pick papers to remove so he picked some that are right wing shills.

  12. 12
    Dave says:

    I love how Drudge sounds the dog whistle. "White people publications are being kicked off for Teh Black magazines! Oh noes!!"

  13. 13
    mantis says:

    Hey, they need to make room on the plane. Who would you get rid of?

  14. 14
    Xanthippas says:

    The Dallas Morning News? That’s my hometown paper…the Post and Times are obvious, but what did the little ol’ DMN do?


    At least they’re gracious about it.

  15. 15
    Warren Terra says:

    I’m not terribly familiar with the Dallas Morning News, so I’ll ask: is it fair to include the Dallas Morning News with the Moonie Washington Times or the Murdoch New York Post?

    The defining characteristic of the latter two isn’t just that they take a rabidly right-wing and frequently dishonest editorial line, it’s that their news pages are frequently discredited on similar grounds. The Wall Street Journal, to name an obvious counter-example, gets most of its editorial content direct from the pits of Mordor but has news content that is widely admired.

    Everything I know about the Dallas Morning News I learned from reading books Molly Ivins compiled ten years ago, but my recollection was that it had a monopoly in Dallas (unlike the other papers mentioned), and that (maybe because no-one cares about the Dallas Morning News), I haven’t heard of its news pages being given to absurdist flights of fantasy like those of the Washington Times or the New York Post.

  16. 16
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Who wants to be on Obama’s smelly, cluttered old plane anyway?

    Was the reporter whinging about the smell on Obama’s plane working for one of the publications that’s been shuffled?

  17. 17
    MazeDancer says:

    David Schuster on MSNBC seemed very understanding of the forced choice aspect. He said at the very end of Presidential campaigns these things happen. Big wigs decide they want to fly. Obama can’t turn down Chicago papers. Lots more people want on the plane and there’s nothing they can do but kick some off. The people who don’t make the plane just fly commercial. They get there. And they weren’t going to write nice stories no matter how they arrived, so one can understand the choices. Probably in past campaigns these kind of details didn’t make as many blogs.

  18. 18
    Matthew says:

    At least they’ll all have plenty of space on the McCain campaign jet. With all the reporters he’s kicked off and the general lack of interest in his campaign, they’ll be able to get two or three seats to themselves.

  19. 19

    A. This is from Drudge.
    B. This. @Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse.

    Is anyone surprised that OMG OBAMA IS THROWING PEOPLE OFF THE PLANE AT 10,000 FEET turns out to be "Some reporters were asked to ride with Biden."

    [crickets chirp]

  20. 20
    Lee says:

    The Dallas Morning News is my paper (I’m an actual subscriber…7 days a week).

    The article above actually seems like a fair assesment and I’m surprised. The DMN is a pretty conservative newspaper.

  21. 21
    Comrade Jake says:

    Let me know when Burton says "We don’t allow RedState bloggers on the plane either." Until he does, this is false equivalency.

  22. 22
    kth says:

    Was the reporter whinging about the smell on Obama’s plane working for one of the publications that’s been shuffled?

    No, the reporter whining about the service on Air Obama was from CBS News (Dean Reynolds, iirc). And let’s at least hold off on taking Drudge’s word on this re-shuffle being some kind of retaliation until such a sentiment is actually attributed to a real Obama staffer.

  23. 23
    Patrick says:

    Here’s my shout out from North Texas…

    The Dallas Morning News is owned by A.H. Belo which has been in the tank for Republicans forever and a day. Every now and then the DMN throws us regional Democrats a bone (like with the absolutely awesome Carol Kent endorsement over State Rep Tony Goolsby this year), but for the most part if you’re a Republican and you have a pulse, you’ll get their endorsement.

    This is mostly due to Kevin Ann Wiley, the lady who is their Editorial Page Editor and a VP at the DMN. She’s the gatekeeper of the endorsement process at the DMN and she’s the one who makes sure the Goopers rule the roost while allowing a handful of Democratic endorsements to avoid being a wholly owned media arm of the Texas G.O.P.

    So don’t shed any tears for the Morning Snooze. I’m sure they’ll find a way to spin this to their advantage.

  24. 24

    This isn’t the same as Maureen Dowd and Klein. They are given notice and asked because of capacity. It isn’t retaliation, though the fact that they are all very conservative surely figured into the mix.

  25. 25
    Warren Terra says:

    Patrick, I’m mildly familiar with the right-wing nature of the Dallas paper’s editorial stance, from old Molly Ivins columns – but is its actual news content slanted comparably to that of the other two papers named?

  26. 26
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Is anyone surprised that OMG OBAMA IS THROWING PEOPLE OFF THE PLANE AT 10,000 FEET turns out to be "Some reporters were asked to ride with Biden."

    jake 4 that 1, some reporters, if offered the choice between the two options, may actually have to stop and think about it.

    (I kid. I love Joe.)

    Hey, kids, how about some cake — or death?

  27. 27
    Patrick says:

    @ #23 Warren Terra:

    In my opinion, no. The news content of the DMN is straightforward compared to what you read in the Post and the Waaaah Times. That being said, even though I live in North Texas I still prefer the Houston Chronicle for general Texas news and the Austin American-Statesman for Texas political news.

  28. 28
    bellatrys says:

    but what did the little ol’ DMN do?

    Hmm, they pay Rod Dreher to rant, is that bad enough?

  29. 29
    zic says:

    Let see, African American voters are turning out in record numbers. We’re looking at a historic event, the first election with an African American as a nominee. And he’s ahead in the polls. So two of the magazines that write target the African American niche want seats on his campaign plane? And who’s to get the boot to make room for them? Journalists from papers who’ve endorsed his opponent?

    Ahhh, I’ve got no problem with that.

    I would have a big problem with those mags not getting a seat on the front of the bus, though.

  30. 30
    tom.a says:

    I think the Obama campaign has the slightly higher ground in this case. NY Post and Wash Times have repeatedly peddled bigoted smears against Obama and African Americans in general this election (I don’t know about the Dallas Morning News). Also, he’s not just kicking them off, he’s replacing them with other news outlets. That those other news outlets may be more friendly to him is irrelevant.

  31. 31

    It was a waste of space, I agree with the decision.

  32. 32
    eyeball says:

    I bet there are plenty of empty seats on the McCain plane right about now …

    just sayin’

  33. 33
    Lee says:

    Has anyone clicked by in the last 2-3 days?

    Even for them the headlines have really been over the top. There was one yesterday(?) that my jaw literally dropped it was such propaganda for the Republicans.

  34. 34
    MobiusKlein says:

    The real question is did some angry black guy carve the letter B on their face before kicking them out of the plane, or did that happen later?

    Drudge credibility has to be near zero, or less Cmon.

  35. 35
    Amit Joshi says:

    This isn’t a legal principle, it’s a question of judgement. Should Obama allow Rush Limbaugh on board? This is a political campaign, a fundamentally partisan activity.

    An elected president is a government official, that’s a different situation. But both Obama and McCain are free to toss folks off their planes. Of course, use bad judgement on that, and you’ll lose respect.

    I think McCain’s behavior with Klein shows bad judgement, since Klein is not overtly partisan. Obama booting the right wing rags is ok.

    But of course, I’m a partisan Democrat :).

  36. 36
    William Burton says:

    Please don’t quote Drudge on anything as if it were an actual news source.

  37. 37
    Egilsson says:

    Did you see how John Solomon, old hack from the Post now editor in chief at the Wash. Times, had to snarkily use McCain talking points while whining about this?

    Here’s Solomon:

    "This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama’s campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporters’ pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign," said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon.

    If they are just going to be McCain mouthpieces, why should they be on the plane?

    I don’t care if McCain wants to kick people off his plane, and I don’t care if Obama does the same.

    Whoever gets elected president can’t do that kind of stuff though.

  38. 38
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @kth: No, the reporter whining about the service on Air Obama was from CBS News (Dean Reynolds, iirc). And let’s at least hold off on taking Drudge’s word on this re-shuffle being some kind of retaliation until such a sentiment is actually attributed to a real Obama staffer.

    Agreed; whatever the underlying reason, I just thought it would be funny if the whinger were among those no longer on board.

  39. 39
    jvill says:

    According to Reuters:

    The Dallas Morning News said it had no evidence of a connection to its endorsement, blogging its explanation here. The New York Post wrote its response here, suggesting it was not in the news business to be “liked”. The Washington Times said it was unhappy with the decision which it noted came two days after it endorsed McCain. A campaign official said the Times was told before it made its endorsement.


    More bullshit from Drudge.

    To me the biggest surprise is that The New York Post is in the news business.

  40. 40
    Mike P says:

    It seems kinda sucky, but let’s be real…he didn’t kick them off and then leave the seats empty. He gave them to a couple of outlets (Jet and Essence) that wouldn’t have had this access otherwise and which also have some very obvious reasons to be included.

  41. 41
    Brian J says:

    To me the biggest surprise is that The New York Post is in the news business.

    Even as it’s gained circulation and almost even with The Daily News, it’s still not clear whether the paper actually makes any money. It doesn’t matter, though, because it has Murdoch’s empire behind it.

  42. 42
    jenniebee says:

    I understand there also "isn’t room" for Mother Jones and the Daily Worker.

    Is there really an equivalence between inviting reporters to drink champagne, eat BBQ and swing on your tire and then kicking them to the curb if they ask an open ended non-gotcha question about what you think about birth control on the one hand, and saying that you aren’t interested in sitting for more questions about whether a middle class tax cut is just a euphemism for "five year plan for collective farming" on the other? Srsly?

    I should note that by asking that question, I have committed an act equivalent to sending Drudge to the gulags.

Comments are closed.