Networks Revolt Against Reporter-Blocking Palin UN Meeting

Networks Revolt Against Reporter-Blocking Palin UN Meeting

UPDATE: The McCain campaign gave in and agreed to let a CNN producer into the UN meetings.

The New York Times adds that reporters were let in for the preliminary part of Palin's meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Here's what they got:

When Gov. Sarah Palin sat down with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon, the polite preliminaries to their conversation centered around children, as Mr. Karzai spoke of the birth of his first child last year.

"What is his name?" Ms. Palin was heard to ask, as she met with Mr. Karzai in the suite of a midtown hotel, according to a pool report.

"Mirwais," Mr. Karzai replied. "Mirwais, which means, 'The Light of the House.'"

"Oh nice," Palin responded.

"He is the only one we have," Mr. Karzai said.

Then the pool of journalists was escorted out, and the meeting began.

The pool was allowed in for a whopping 29 seconds.


ABC News reports that all of the networks are objecting to the John McCain campaign's attempt to get photographs of Sarah Palin at the U.N., but no news coverage:

There's a battle going on right now over how the networks will be allowed to cover Sarah Palin's big day of visits in NY with world leaders. Palin is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai shortly, followed by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and then with McCain advisor, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The networks had arranged for a "pool" camera- one camera to cover the meetings, whose video would be pooled or shared with all networks. Such arrangements are standard when dealing with intimate high-level meetings between leaders and candidates. But typically, along with cameras, there is an editorial presence-- at least one print reporter, one TV reporter and one radio reporter is standard. Today, the McCain campaign had said it would allow only one editorial person inside. Now, the campaign is saying it wants only the camera inside with no editorial presence. All of the networks are objecting. Stay tuned.

P.S.: The networks have just voted to BAN any use of the photographs/video in protest.

The AP reports that CNN has pulled its TV crew from the event until a producer was allowed in. Campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said it was all just a "miscommunication."

And CBS News adds to the news media's grievances:

Television networks, including CBS News maintain a policy that if they are prevented from having an editorial presence at an event, they will not allow cameras to shoot it.

The McCain/Palin campaign's effort to stifle editorial coverage of the candidate's meetings with world leaders comes a week after CBS News asked Palin an impromptu question about the AIG bailout, while Palin made an off-the-record stop at a Cleveland diner.

After the Cleveland event, a Palin staffer told CBS News that questions "weren't allowed."

In Orlando on Sunday, Palin had another off-the-record stop at an ice cream shop, but the pool producer who was assigned to be in Palin's motorcade was not notified when the candidate departed to get ice cream, and so there was no editorial presence at the event.

Press frustration with the McCain campaign was also evident in Strongville, Ohio on Tuesday. Sam Stein reports that one journalist was moved to give the candidate's bus a new name -- the "No Talk Express":

Relations between John McCain and the press corps that was once described as his "base" have fully deteriorated. After an appearance in Strongsville, Ohio, on Tuesday, the Senator blissfully ignored questions about the bailout plan from nearby reporters, prompting one journalist to scream out: "Has your bus become the No Talk Express?"

McCain offered a smirk at the line but kept on walking. "Ok, pool, back to the vans!" said an aide. "That was fun."


The Politico reports that McCain will actually take questions from the press today. But national journalists will get short shrift:

National reporters vary in their levels of grief.

"Some have come to acceptance," said one, while others continue "trying to figure out how to gain some access."

Popular in the Community