Oct
09
2008

CBS's Reynolds: Obama's Schedule Doesn't Suit Me

Via TPM, CBS's Dean Reynolds complains at length that the Obama campaign doesn't have its priorities straight:

The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and uninformed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about. Baggage calls are preposterously early with the explanation that it's all for security reasons.

If so, I would love to have someone from Obama's campaign explain why the entire press corps, the Secret Service, and the local police idled for two hours in a Miami hotel parking lot recently because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was not an isolated case.

The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans. Nor is there much sympathy for those of us who report for a newscast that airs in the early evening hours. Our shows place a premium on live reporting from the scene of campaign events. But this campaign can often be found in the air and flying around at the time the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric is broadcast.

He goes on in this vein, sounding actually bitter that the Obama campaign doesn't arrange its schedule for the convenience of CBS News. Not like those nice folks at the McCain campaign:

The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps…. The McCain campaign plane is better than Obama's, which is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time. Somehow the McCain folks manage to keep their charter clean, even where the press is seated.

Here's a thought for Reynolds: Maybe if a candidate only tries to make one campaign stop a day, which the CBS reporter notes in passing is McCain's usual schedule, then it's easier to get on the road at a leisurely hour, make a no-fly zone in the early evening and get the plane cleaned regularly. Reynolds concludes by suggesting that Obama's real problem is that he puts winning the election above the needs of the media:

Maybe a front-running campaign like Obama's that is focused solely on victory doesn't have the time to do the mundane things like print up schedules or attend to the needs of reporters.

But in politics, everything that goes around comes around.

That sure sounds like a threat, doesn't it?

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.