Pay for Play

Bringing in its own brand of “new politics,” the Obama campaign will be charging reporters for access to campaign officials.  You want to talk to key staffers?  Be prepared to open that pocketbook.  Lynn Sweet reports:

The Obama campaign is putting a hefty price tag on the best camera and reporting positions for news organizations covering Barack Obama’s outdoor election night activities in downtown Chicago. If a reporter wants access to the file center–which will be the best place to find Obama officials and spokesmen–be prepared to write a check for $935. The cheapest place a reporter could stand on a riser with a view is $880.

That $935 covers one reporter in a heated file tent, power, cable tv, internet and food. I am told by an Obama spokesman who did not want his name used that this just covers costs and they are not turning a profit on this. The planners could have built in more al a carte options for Grant Park coverage.

This is an outrageous pay to play plan that caters to national elite outlets with deep pockets.

I am not asking for a free ride–news outlets pay for plane seats, other transportation organized by the campaign, hotel rooms, plus associated costs for filing centers…

A general media area will be created where a reporter could watch for free, but the set-up is separate, unequal and clearly second class when it comes to getting top access to campaign people.

The campaign could not have made going to the free space more unappealing. If will be “outdoors, unassigned and may have obstructed views. General Media Area credentials do not include access to riser positions, satellite truck parking or the press filing center.”

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