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« Election Blog

Aussie, Brit media know what Obama camp doesn't

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Published October 15, 2008

By Todd Franko

Vindicator Editor

Next Monday, BBC Radio will be in town partnering with The Vindicator for its political coverage.

The week after, an Australia TV show will join The Vindicator in the same way. It’s a show that seems similar to PBS’ “Frontline.”

Both media companies were interested in our ongoing feature, “The Undecideds,” but both were also generally interested in the local newspaper’s vast local reach and historical breadth of coverage in regard to politics.

That reality is apparently lost on the Obama-Biden campaign.

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden’s visit to Warren Tuesday continued a trend within that campaign evident in every appearance: they love the local TV; they ignore the local newspaper.

It’s not uncommon for media to get put out to pasture on certain events. But usually it’s all media sitting off together like orphans when such decisions are made. It’s a little unique for a group to opt for one media form over another — especially in a hotly contested situation like this presidential campaign.

But there was our reporter Tuesday, David Skoplnick, being told there will be no access to Biden — only to see Biden walk off with local TV folks for one-on-one interviews.

Should you, as readers, care? What does this ultimately mean?

Well, in all honesty, you’re not being denied life, liberty or the pursuit of a Starbucks coffee grande.

The Vindy was allowed coverage of the event in general. But that event talk is typically boiler plate, political pump that will sound fairly similar in all of the six or so cities Biden or Obama might visit on a certain day.

But one-on-one interviews allow us to get questions answered that we want to ask that we feel are most important to the Valley.

I won’t judge the questioning of our TV friends, but I’m extremely confident in our reporting staff’s ability to fire very relevant and pointed questions tied to the issues of the day and the Valley.

Last spring, when former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani stopped in the region, it was The Vindy’s Skolnick firing all the questions, with TV mics surrounding him and Rudy. I felt like sending a bill to my other media friends.

Rudy survived the questioning — but his candidacy did not survive the primary.

Perhaps he talked to too many newspapers? Who knows?

The real reason you should care is if the Obama-Biden team will be this blatant, arrogant, reckless or whatever you wish to call them over a simple thing like media access, how else will they act if given the keys to the White House?

It makes me wonder.

McCain on the other hand?

His visits have included access to all media. He allowed media varying access, so not all were treated the same. But all were granted access to ask their own questions. He had one event where there was access to nobody — which is still a smarter decision than snubbing one for the other.

We sent a testy letter to Obama’s team. They’re supposed to call us.

We’ll keep you posted.


1MillCreeked(24 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe that you're absolutely right, and I hope that the Obama/Biden ticket, which I support, will respond to your inquiry quickly and positively. It's important for the readers of the Mahoning Valley to have access to information and you're doing us a service. When you let voters of our great, working class town know where Obama and Joe Biden stand, I am sure they will support the team.

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2judibry(6 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

They won't risk a question that they don't want asked. The vast majority of the TV reporters only ask soft questions. None of the hard ones are allowed.

It's probably just as well. I like Dave, and if he had asked the type of questions he is prone to ask - they might have went after him like they did with 'Joe the plumber', the Florida reporter, and the one in Philly.

If you ask tough questions, you are risking your livelihood. (Maybe they heard about Dave with Rudy?)
I hadn't come across this editorial until today. I wish more editors were asking why this keeps happening.

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3Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Jouralists who care about the truth: Beware of what lies ahead:

From Foxnews.com:

Journalists from three major newspapers that endorsed John McCain -- the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News -- have been booted from Barack Obama's campaign plane for the final leg of the presidential race.

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