Blacklist: Obama Campaign Punishes Station for Tough Questions of Biden

Florida WFTV-Channel 9’s Barbara West thought that she was using her five minutes with Sen. Joe Biden to get at the toughest questions being raised by critics of the campaign. None of the usual softball, scripted questions in the video below. The choice reportedly resulted in the campaign canceling future interviews with the station. Blacklisting is a Nixonian trick and not something that most modern campaigns openly embrace.

West raised Sen. Obama’s comment about spreading wealth. That fact is that the comment is part of a variety of statements from democratic leaders connected to the campaign, including Biden, indicating that the Democrats intended to use their prior pattern of tax increases as a core agenda item. Indeed, a recent video show Obama using the expression in a 2001 radio interview on a failure of the Supreme Court. West asked why spreading the wealth does not make you a Marxist. Right subject, wrong delivery.

Biden was right to respond “Are you joking? No.” It hardly makes you Marxist to want higher taxes, though it does raise a legitimate issue as to the philosophy of the campaign in a still fiscally conservative country.

West then asked about Biden’s latest gaffe about Obama being tested by the foreign countries — a comment that played directly into the untested claims of the McCain camp. West again took the question a step too far and asked if Biden was saying America’s days as the world’s leading power were over. Once again, it was not the best framing of a valid question. Biden responded by stating “I don’t know who’s writing your questions.”

For the video of the interview, click here.
Instead of shrugging off the questions as awkward, the campaign went out of its way to cut off the entire statin and make it clear that it was being punished. It canceled an interview with Jill Biden, stating in a letter from Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign:”This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election.” So not to leave anything to speculation, McGinnis wrote that the cancellation was “a result of her husband’s experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West.”

Even if you were ticked, how dimwitted is it to send a letter telling every journalist that the campaign is now punishing anyone who asks irritating or unpredictable questions? This should be treated as a serious problem by the campaign and the decision reversed. It is hard to claim to promise a new open and transparent government when you are blacklisting media.

For the full story, click here.

46 thoughts on “Blacklist: Obama Campaign Punishes Station for Tough Questions of Biden”

  1. Jill 1, October 29, 2008 at 10:22 am
    ‘I must echo mespo’s comments (above) on blacklisting…’
    Come again?

    Your comments don’t rise nearly to mespo’s level. You seem to think if you read a couple of articles and listen to a couple of podcasts you actually know what you are talking about. You don’t. You are , obviously neither a business person or an economist.

    Nothing irritates me more – on this blog or elsewhere, than people like you, Jill. I am sick of your incessant hand-wringing negativity.

    Throw your vote away if you chose, worry yourself to death, and continue to blame ‘wealthy people’ for this entire mess.

    I don’t care to read it any longer.

    And don’t be too terribly surprised if Jamie Dimon ends up as Secretary of the Treasury under Obama.

    We could do a lot worse…

  2. “This “something for nothing” that Germany expected in the 1940’s (from Hitler’s Socialist Party), resulted in a total loss of freedom for all, and a loss of life for some six million Jews and Blacks.”

    Dr. Paul,
    I don’t know what your degree is in, but for the minds of potential students I pray that it is not history. To characterize the NAZI party as “socialist” betrays a lack of knowledge of both socialism and Nazism. The current Republican Administration represents the closest iteration of Nazism (Fascism if you will) that we’ve had in this country. Incidentally, are you aware that W’s Grandfather Senator Prescott Bush assisted in funding the Nazi’s rise and also was trying to organize a coup against FDR?

    As far as welfare being “something for nothing” I also hope that your “Doctorate” isn’t in economics, because you show an extreme lack of understanding of our current meta financial system. The policy of the Federal Reserve has been for at least 3 decades to
    raise interest rates, to dampen the economy and depress wages, each time unemployment falls below a certain number. In essence this means that our economy depends, according to Conservative economic thinkers, on an unemployment rate of about 4.5%, which figures in to about 8% if you don’t play with the definition of unemployed, as the Reagan Administration started doing.

    Since the economic/financial elite deems it needs people being out of work to make their system work, welfare isn’t a “handout,” it’s a means of giving the appearance of financial fairness and stability. Beyond that we do have something for nothing in the US, handouts to corporations and a tax system that puts the burden on the middle class. 40% of US Corporations pay no taxes and loopholes ensure handouts to the wealthy in the form of tax breaks. Perhaps you’re a Medical doctor, or Dentist and have benefited from these handouts yourself?

    I’d argue this further with you but the ignorance of your comment bespeaks a smug, self satisfied individual who replaces thought and research with dumb talking points.

  3. Ask the questions, answer them well as Biden did, then expose the problems with the questions and the questioner. That is a democratic response.

    bush felt quite strongly that he should not be asked any questions about his judgement on almost every topic. He let the media know they should be a lapdog or he wasn’t going to give them access. If Obama wants to bring change, this would be a very important area for him to exhibit this, not as a talking point, but as an actual reality.

    I must echo mespo’s comments (above) on blacklisting.

  4. Although I generally agree that candidates should not blacklist media outlets for asking tough questions, the Obama campaign is justified in refusing to have further dealings with this particular station. The reporter’s questions were right out of the Limbaugh-Hannity-Malkin playbook, and didn’t rise to the level of legitimate journalism. Had the reporter said something to the effect of, “John McCain and Sarah Palin say your tax plan is socialist. What’s your response to that?,” that would be acceptable. But the reporter did not merely state the McCain campaign’s allegations and ask for Biden’s response. Rather, the reporter herself established a false premise. i.e., that Obama’s (misinterpreted) “spread the wealth” statement is derived from the works of Karl Marx, and asked Biden how he could possibly deny the obvious connection. The question was ridiculous, and the reporter should have been embarrassed. Apparently, her husband is a Republican consultant, and she has been invited to appear on Bill O’Reilly’s show. That’s pretty much all you need to know about her.

  5. Dr. Paul and Mespo,
    I have to echo your statements about the loss of our Constitutional guarantees if McCain is elected. One only has to look at what we have lost in the 8 years of the Bush regime to know that McCain could be even worse.

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