Campaign press handlers are like baseball umpires. Do their job right and no one should notice them.
A lot of people have been noticing the media minders in the current presidential campaign. That’s not a good thing.
For example there was a traveling press secretary for Mitt Romney who blew his top in Warsaw on July 31 and cursed out reporters who had the nerve to shout questions to his candidate. Rick Gorka didn’t like the shouted questions from reporters frustrated due to lack of access. “Kiss my ass,” he told one reporter who complained about not being given a chance to question Romney. “Shove it!” he told another. Gorka later apologized but served as an example of press wranglers trying too hard to control the message.
Then last week President Obama was speaking at a high school in the Philadelphia area. Dave Davies, a reporter for WHYY the local NPR affiliate, had to be at the venue hours before the President arrived. He tried to fill time by interviewing early arriving audience members (strong Obama supporters) only to be told that was against the rules by campaign press handlers who refused to give their names. Davies radio report can be heard here.
And now Politico reports that Biden campaign spokespeople who have taken it on themselves to try to edit media pool reports (written descriptions of events filed by a single reporter for the benefit of his or her colleagues when the location won’t accommodate open coverage.) As NBC White House Correspondent, Chuck Todd explains in the clip below – such manipulation is unprecedented and unacceptable. (h/t Mediaite)
Someone needs to tell these press herders that by going too far in trying to control the message — they are sending the entirely wrong message about their candidate and their campaigns. No one ever bought a ticket to a ballgame to watch the umpires and no one elected these handlers to run roughshod over reporters.