Journalists covering McCain grow frustrated with 'No-Talk Express'

by Steve Schmidt, Huffington Post

Relations between John McCain and the press corps that was once described as his "base" have fully deteriorated. After an appearance in Strongsville, Ohio, on Tuesday, the Senator blissfully ignored questions about the bailout plan from nearby reporters, prompting one journalist to scream out: "Has your bus become the No Talk Express?"

McCain offered a smirk at the line but kept on walking. "Ok, pool, back to the vans!" said an aide. "That was fun."

The outburst came as the press pool accompanying vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin nearly revolted on Tuesday, after the campaign banned reporters from covering her first meetings with world leaders, in favor of photographers and a singular television news crew.

Reporters have also sharply criticized the GOP ticket for avoiding questions from the Fourth Estate. It's been 40 days since the Senator has taken a question from a national reporter, though word leaked out today that McCain is planning his first press conference since August 13. Gov. Sarah Palin, meanwhile, has yet to host a press availability.

"The woman seeking to be to a heartbeat away from the presidency without ever holding a press conference remains on the same relatively unaccountable path," ABC's Jake Tapper wrote on his blog. "McCain-Palin campaign officials apparently feel the American people should trust her with the button and the world's financial markets without ever taking questions from reporters."

The McCain campaign has also complained bitterly about a purported double standard in the coverage of Obama. On Monday, campaign strategist Steve Schmidt chastised the New York Times as a non-journalistic institution for writing on the lobbying work campaign manager Rick Davis did on behalf of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Later that day, spokesman Brian Rogers accused Politico reporter Ben Smith of being "in the tank" for Obama, simply because Smith asked the campaign to verify claims it was making about the Illinois Democrat's character and biography.

article originally published at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/23/press-frustration-with-mc_n_128607.html.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey