Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet reports
the Obama campaign is planning to charge reporters $935 for a package that includes access to a heated file tent, power, cable TV, Internet, and food. The cheapest place a reporter could stand on a riser with a view is $880. Members of the media will also be charged $300 for an unlimited long distance phone line and $275 for high-speed wired Internet.
You would think that with all the love the media hounds have shown Obama during this election cycle, he would have at least thrown them a bone or two…or at least a warm place from which to report.
But it reveals two important points that should be open for public discussion. First, to the Obama folks, this election is already a done deal. And the deal is that they will take over the Country on November 5th. To declare victory two weeks prior to the election shows a fair amount of certainty in the outcome.
And the small media guys are probably the only ones who would ask the question why…if they could get close enought to him to ask it.
So the more troubling thing is this: The pay-to-play approach would prevent the small guys from even having the access to the candidate to ask questions like that, and to report what they hear and see accurately. It ensures that the small media will, quite literally in this case, be left out in the cold when it comes to access to a President Obama with his entire posse of hangers on. And the media freeze may, perhaps, even be extend to the politicians in his inner circle.
It effectively sets up a two-tier system for journalistic reporting. If the media does not pay for access, it won’t have any. Period. And the costs to pay at the national level are prohibitive for most small media outlets.
Furthermore, we have seen beyond a shadow of a doubt, what the major media outlets in this country have done with the coverage during this presidential election. Without the new media and Fox News, the only sources of accurate information, there would be no true media watchdog for the people of America.
And without public knowledge and scrutiny, there is no accountability for politicians.
But what mainstream media outlet is going to ask this question: What will the Obamas do with all of that money collected from the media anyway? No one seems to have asked that question.
So much for the “free press.”
If the journalists themselves don’t start turning up the heat on Obama, they will continue to find themselves on the outs.
And four years is a long time to spend shivering in the cold hoping for a warmer reception.