Glad to read that even members of the corporate press have limits. Earlier today, according to ABC News, the networks revolted over the McCain campaign’s attempt to waltz Sarah Palin in and out of grip-and-grins with world leaders without having to face any fall-out from what she might say. The situation was resolved, but not until after the networks voted to boycott their staged photo-ops altogether:
ABC’s Kate Snow from New York: 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. 11:30 AM Update: The networks have voted to BAN any use of the photographs/video in protest. 12 Noon: Word has come in that a CNN producer WILL be allowed to accompany the camera at these meetings. This issue appears to be resolved.
The NYT has has a fun re-cap, including the illuminating 29 seconds they were able to witness between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Palin this morning:
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. Accompanying Ms. Palin were Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser for the McCain campaign, and Steve Biegun, a former staff member of President Bush’s National Security Council who is advising Ms. Palin.
One can’t recall the relentless hyper-management of George W. Bush — the man whose life story and political prowess were practically written and massaged for him by Karl Rove and Karen Hughes ahead of the 2000 election — and not get more than a whiff of that here. But this is taking it to the absurd. If we are to believe Palin’s winning ways — her plainspoken approach, her ability to connect — why would the McCain campaign prevent us from hearing her in action with world leaders? Pretty soon, people less skeptical than myself are going to think they have something to hide.