The Collective
Tuesday, September 23, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

In these difficult and unpredictable times, it is comforting to know that some things remain consistent, like the fact that McCain campaign wants to heavily control press access to their veep nominee. Via the AP: Palin bans reporters from meetings with leaders

The campaign told the TV producer, print and wire reporters in the press pool that follows the Alaska governor that they would not be admitted with the photographers and camera crew taken in to photograph the meetings. At least two news organizations, including The Associated Press, objected and were told that the decision was not subject to discussion.

In other words, the campaign wants the publicity of photos of Palin with world leaders, but not any threat of any actual pesky press write-ups. I am not sure what it is that they are afraid of.

As I continue to note, the notion that someone who aspires to be Vice President, and therefore be in line for the presidency, needs to be protected from the press is utterly insane (and disturbing).

Further, it strikes me it is an odd notion that simply meeting foreign leaders equals “foreign policy experience.” By this logic, perhaps I should have applied for the job of veep, as I have had actual sit-down interviews1 with three presidents of Colombia (although one of the interviews was before one of them became president): Misael Pastrana (1970-1974), Alfosnso López (1974-1978) and Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002). I interviewed Pastrana in 1995, so he wasn’t a “world leader” at the time (he had run for the presidency and lost in 1994 and had been mayor of Bogotá and Senator, however). Granted, I have never met a sitting world leader, so perhaps that’s why the McCain camp didn’t put me on the short list…

Update: Andrew Sullivan points to this report that states that the campaign has capitulated to at least allow a CNN producer to attend the meeting.

Sphere: Related Content

  1. Which is even better than just meeting them, I would think! []
Filed under: 2008 Campaign, The Press, US Politics | |


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    1. This field trip to the UN sounds like the speed-dating version of foreign policy.

      Comment by Sheri — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 11:57 am

    2. Granted, I have never met a sitting world leader, so perhaps that’s why the McCain camp didn’t put me on the short list…

      Yes, but from Alabama, you can SEE Florida and Florida is–in turn–pretty close to Cuba, so I think you’ve got what it takes.

      Comment by Ratoe — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 12:00 pm

    3. Ah, well I drank raki with the sitting president of Albania and vodka with the sitting PM of Estonia, so there!

      On Palin, apparently any resident of Alaska wanting certain state-government information (even some rather routine) gets referred to McCain HQ (LA Times a day or two ago).

      Comment by MSS — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 12:06 pm

    4. I can see the moon from my backyard so I have the experience to run NASA.

      Comment by Mike — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 12:28 pm

    5. I don’t think this is an attempt to avoid “press write ups.” The photographs will be released and the reporters will be able to sue those photos when they write their stories.

      Instead I think this is simply payback. The AP especially has been annoying the campaign (refusing to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation of the Yahoo email hack — if their response had been “we don’t identify our sources, and this would identify a source” that would be one thing, instead their response was highly “we’ve repeatedly accused Palin of misusing personal email accounts, and while we have no evidence of that, it’s Palin’s fault for being accused — she has only herself to blame”), and McCain is using his most trusty anti-media weapon ( ).

      The only other reason that makes sense to be is to avoid minor photo problems ( ).

      Comment by Max Lybbert — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 1:34 pm

    6. Didn’t Team McCain heavily criticize Obama for meeting with world leaders back in July when he traveled to the Middle East and Europe? Doesn’t this make the Republicans a wee bit hypocritical on this issue?

      Comment by Black Political Analysis — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 1:38 pm

    7. My favorite Veep moment of the day came from the experienced guy with a much higher IQ — Senator Biden

      “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed,” Biden told Couric. “He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”

      Can you imagine the pieces of Andrew Sullivan (and indeed Dr. ST) being scraped off the virtual ceiling if Palin had said something this moronic? Dan Quayle, call your office.

      Comment by Buckland — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 4:30 pm

    8. I really don’t know what I would have said, as it didn’t play out that way, although I really don’t think I would’ve made a big deal about it. Not surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve been unreasonable or even especially hyper about Palin. All I want, as a citizen in a democracy, is to hear from the candidate. Radical me, I know.

      How one can defend 2 interviews in a month, one of which was with an ideological and partisan fellow-traveler is beyond me. Indeed, please do call Quayle, as I am missing him at the moment.

      Part of why I am not paying that much attention to Biden is because I am quite familiar with him, while Palin remains a blank slate.

      And yes, I get it that a) there were no TVs in 1929 and b) that Hoover was president at the time.

      Although was Biden analogizing FDR as Bush in this problematic quip, or is FDR supposed to represent McCain? (Didn’t McCain say something about greed recently? Did Bush?)

      Regardless, it is hardly my job to defend or explain Biden.

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 4:55 pm

    9. [...] believes this was a good idea; Doctor Steven Taylor of PoliBlog (a fellow Alabamian blogger) says the whole idea of hiding the “Number Two” of a ticket from the Press is INSANE; Last but not least — Michelle Malkin writes about the actual Sarah Palin look-alike Michael [...]

      Pingback by Señor J. Sidney McCain Pulls The Ole’ “Bait And Switch” On Mainstream Media — Cheats CBS Into Taking Pictures Of Face-To-Face Discussion Between Sarah Palin And Afghan President Hamid Karzai | THE GUN TOTING LIBERAL™ — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 6:50 pm

    10. That obviously touched a nerve.

      But it does show why she’s not giving interviews. As a new conservative face she doesn’t get the leeway that the other 3 campaign participants get. Small misstatements get magnified into airhead comments. She can’t afford that right now.

      Defending 2 interviews in a month is easy. The risk/reward ratio is way too high. Most people wanting more interviews are wanting to see her make a mistake, especially one that can be laughed at. I’m not feeling a groundswell from the overall voting populace for more.

      Speaking contemporaneously in public is a difficult thing. Getting the grammar right (let alone obscure facts) can be a problem if each sentence is going to be dissected. Obama repeatedly says “uh” for time to think. McCain slows down his sentences until his words are almost painful coming out for the same reason. Biden invents “just so” stories when in doubt.

      Palin doesn’t have the luxury of any of these. Lots of people want her to have a Quayle-in-the-headlights moment, many wanting it enough to magnify small speaking traits or errors into proof of airheadedness. This happened to some degree with her comment of seeing Russia from Alaska and moreso when she answered carefully about the Bush Doctrine.

      So I’ll take you at your word that you don’t think you’d make a big deal out of it (though that was the surprise of your response to me), and even apologize for lumping you with “Excitable Andy” (don’t know who coined that, but it’s good…), but you have to see why the interviews will come slowly and in a structured manner…The risk of twisted comments is way too high, and nobody who doesn’t troll political sites even cares.

      Comment by Buckland — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 6:55 pm

    11. And now I hear that Palin talked with Karzai about his child and commented that the baby has a “nice” name. She probably told Kissinger her hockey mom/pit bull joke. And I noticed that when leaving the building, she hugged and kissed Kissinger. Come on, a girl would do that, not a professional woman who says she’s ready to be V.P., excuse me, Prez.

      Somebody make her go away.


      Comment by Carolyn Watson — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 7:00 pm

    12. Oh, I just figured if I didn’t respond, it would be interpreted as conceding the point.

      The Palin thing is a raw nerve, I suppose, as I do find her selection and especially her sequestration from serious questioning to be troubling.

      Part of the problem, too, in how different persons will be treated by the press depends on the basic narrative surrounding. People expect Biden to say off the wall things, so he gets ignored. And, to be fair, McCain had had his share of verbal gaffes as well.

      Quayle couldn’t say stupid things that others could. Gore couldn’t exaggerate and get away with it, etc. McCain can talk about Czechoslovakia and confuse the Sunni and Shi’a,. cuz after all, we all know he knows foreign policy, so it must be a harmless mistake, but if Palin did the same thing, she’d be roasted. The standard are never 100% fair.

      The more Palin stays away, the more her gaffes will matter.

      Defending 2 interviews in a month is easy. The risk/reward ratio is way too high. Most people wanting more interviews are wanting to see her make a mistake, especially one that can be laughed at. I’m not feeling a groundswell from the overall voting populace for more.

      It can easily be defended on strategic political grounds, and I have stated such on more than one occasion. It cannot be justified on democratic grounds, as it is a wholly inadequate way to interview for the job, so to speak.

      That there isn’t a clamor for her to be interviewed may well be true, but it doesn’t speak well of persons willing to support her for a very important job just because she gave one good speech and may, or may not, otherwise be prepared for the job for which she aspires.

      I fully understand my view is in the minority (at least of people who have historically voted Republican). I also fully understand that I am not going to get what I want from her, but that doesn’t stop me from finding it problematic.

      Beyond all of that: don’t you find it at least a tad problematic that they have to so protect their vp nominee? What does that say about the selection and the selector?

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 7:11 pm

    13. Max,

      I have to admit, I just don’t buy into this whole “payback” narrative that has been a popular defense of the Palin Press Blackout. First, the issue wasn’t just the AP. And second, even if one says that the McCain camp is taking it to the press, aren’t we ultimately the ones who lose out?

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, September 23, 2024 @ 7:13 pm

    14. I’ll agree that we lose out when the press and the candidates get into spitting matches. I don’t know a solution to the problem. From what I remember, the press and politicians haven’t ever gotten along — or at least in the cases they have gotten along things have been pretty bad (yellow journalism comes to mind).

      Comment by Max Lybbert — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 1:56 am

    15. here’s a crazy though. in a way, the mccain team has nothing to lose to give the impression that palin isn’t unqualified by keeping her away from the press. because the point of presidential debates, and vice-presidential debates as well, is not to win on point but to beat expectations. and people will expect biden to crush her. but debates aren’t the format to simply show off knowledge. palin will look good (you know what i mean; present hereself well), answer the questions adequately, make a few jabs at the guy, and come away from it with a triumph–regardless of the points won.

      keep this prediction in mind. i accept your praise up front.

      Comment by mbailey — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 4:52 am

    16. Although was Biden analogizing FDR as Bush in this problematic quip, or is FDR supposed to represent McCain?

      Buckland’s criticism of Biden is silly. Yes–Roosevelt did not go on TV–but he did go on radio the night of the crash. It is important to remember that Roosevelt was governor of New York at the time of the crash and in the weeks following the crash–as the dimensions of the economic situation became prevalent–he established a state-wide relief agency and became a national voice pushing for regulatory reform.

      It was his experience as governor that contributed to his nation-wide appeal.

      Comment by Ratoe — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 9:12 am

    17. Buckland’s criticism of Biden is silly. Yes–Roosevelt did not go on TV–but he did go on radio the night of the crash.

      Got a reference or 2 on that Ratoe?

      Radio was rarely used for important communications that early. It was too hard to get people to tune in at the right time, recording and replay capabilities were primitive, and the quality broadcast quality was still pretty bad. It wasn’t until the mid 30’s that the infrastructure improved and enough radios owned for that to be an interesting avenue of information dissemination.

      It’s entirely possible that FDR wrote an op-ed or 2 on the subject, and he may have even been quoted on some news / public affairs shows (quite popular at the time). But I’m not seeing a lot of evidence that he went on radio to explain to the people what was happening. It’s just too early in the history of radio for it to be an effective avenue of communication.

      Could you point me to his radio address to NY on Oct 29, 1929? If you can’t, I’ll contact the Biden campaign. I’m sure he’ll be able to recite it from memory.

      Or is trying to find it “silly”?

      Comment by Buckland — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 10:14 am

    18. [...] post yesterday about Palin and the press led to a discussion in the comments section over Joe Biden’s [...]

      Pingback by PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » FDR and the Radio in 1929 — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 11:34 am

    19. While not wholly what one requested, >a href=”″>here’s something on FDR and the radio, for whatever it is worth (and I expect that assessments of value will vary).

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 11:36 am

    20. Got a reference or 2 on that Ratoe?

      Sure, Bucky: “ROOSEVELT PLEADS FOR FREE ASSEMBLY; In Albany Radio Addresses He Stresses the Importance of Next Tuesday’s Election” New York Times, Oct. 31, 1929, p. 52.

      If you subscribe to the Times you can read the article yourself:

      As Steven notes in his updated post, Roosevelt was pretty adept while Governor at adapting to new communications technologies.

      You may also want to check out “Hoover Target in Duty Battle” from the Nov. 7 1929 Chicago Daily Tribune, p.1 . It shows how Roosevelt was emerging as a national force in the discussion on how to deal with the economic struggle. Interestingly, FDR was thought of as a key player. The article talks about J.A. Arnold–who was basically a Dick Morris figure in the 20s who worked as a lobbyist for the American Taxpayers League in their effort to repeal the inheritance tax. He was an old southern democrat who thought if he could get FDRs support to repeal the death tax that Hoover would cave.

      This old article from Time paints a colorful picture of Arnold:,9171,738035,00.html

      I bring this up to reiterate the point that FDR was a national figure at the time whose influence on economic issues was in demand, making Biden’s statement quite apposite.

      Steven cites Bellush’s book, which is good–although I haven’t looked at it in years.

      I can wholeheartedly recommend Conklin’s book, “FDR and the Origins of the Welfare State,” for a look at how his gubernatorial experience influenced some of the New Deal policies.

      Comment by Ratoe — Wednesday, September 24, 2024 @ 6:45 pm

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