Monday, October 27, 2008

Thin Skin

I still can't believe stuff like this happens.

WFTV in Orlando, FL recently interviewed Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, via satellite. One line of questioning involved Barack Obama's recent comment regarding "spreading around the wealth." The news anchor asked Biden if it was a form of socialism.

Shortly after the interview, WFTV was informed it can forget about getting future interviews with big deals in the Obama campaign, including Obama and Biden.

First of all, the socialism question was one Biden should have been able to hit out of the park.

Secondly, the presidential campaigns, in both parties, have been bypassing the national reporters in favor of the locals, believing the locals ask easier questions. Now, a local gets tough with you, and you take your ball and go home.

If you can't, or won't, answer a tough question from a reporter, how are you going to handle that 3:00 AM phone call we've been hearing so much about?

And, it's not just the Democrats. Network reporters covering the McCain campaign have complained they can't get access. NBC's Brian Williams will whine that he had to wait 55 days to interview Sarah Palin to anyone who will listen. On top of that, Williams got less than ten minutes to ask his questions.

Let me tell you a story. I interviewed Scranton Mayor James Connors on election day, when he was seeking his second term, back in the early 90's. It was a live interview outside an elementary school in West Scranton, and it was brutal. I held nothing back. Connors politely answered every question. I got major heat from members of the Connors campaign team, but not from the Mayor. His reason-- he wanted to prove he can take a punch and he had nothing to fear. It worked. He was re-elected.

There's nothing wrong with a good question, unless you can't answer it.