In an effort to control their political message, both of the major parties’ presidential campaigns have “sidelined” the press corps traveling with the candidates, Politico reports.
Reporters say they barely see the candidates these days, let alone have the chance to ask pointed questions about policy and the direction of the campaigns. Politico says the standoffish attitude means reporters have “little impact on the broad campaign narratives and daily story lines that supply most voters with their impressions of the candidates.”
In total contrast to his traditionally chumminess with the media, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hasn’t held a press conference with his trailing press corps in five weeks, Politico reports. That prompted the Democratic National Committee to hang a clock on their wall to count the days, hours, and minutes since the last McCain press conference.
Politico did say Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) makes an effort to be available to his small press unit so he’ll appear more open than his Republican opponent, and he checks in with them every few days.
Richard Wolffe, Newsweek’s senior White House correspondent, who has been with Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for two years, told Politico: “The access gets worse and worse with every campaign cycle, and candidates get more and more controlled." Wolffe said Obama seems more available than Sen. John Kerry was during his 2004 bid, but added it’s still a lot like covering the White House.