Ron Radosh

A Seat on the Plane

A few weeks ago, columnist Michael Barone warned readers that Barack Obama was ready to create a “thugocracy.” Barone was talking about the looming threat that once elected President, his Administration would reinstitute the Fairness doctrine and use it to wipe conservative talk radio off the air, as well as force internet sites hostile to his policies to counter each critical article with a supportive one.

As if he wanted to confirm Barone’s harsh prediction, the Obama campaign suddenly announced that in the few remaining days of the campaign, they were removing the reporters of The New York Post, The Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times from the campaign plane. In their place would be journalists from Essence and Jet, two African-American monthly publications. Not only would the latter two be depended upon to offer fawning stories about Obama, by the time their articles got into print it would be two months after the election.

Despite disclaimers from the Obama spokesman, the reason was clear why the three press outlets were banned. They were all papers hostile to Obama and had endorsed  John McCain for the Presidency. To get a place on the campaign plane, their papers had reserved space way in advance, and had paid giant sums to guarantee seats for their reporters. Yet when last minute coverage was critical, their people were pushed out.

This may seem like a minor story, and indeed, Saturday’s Washington Post had not one word about this development, although it was a front page story in the competing Washington Times.

It may not amount to much. Perhaps it was simply a matter of the campaign having too many demands on it for space among different news outlets. Yet anyone who thinks the choice of removal of three who were known opponents of the campaign was accidental is simply not reasoning clearly.