Earlier this week, President Obama’s reelection campaign was taking heat from media critics for suggesting to local TV reporters that they ask him about certain topics.
Seems that manipulation of the local tube is a gloriously bipartisan affair. Have a look at the video above. It’s the introduction to a segment on Denver CBS affiliate KCNC-TV. Reporter Shaun Boyd introduced her short interview with Mitt Romney this way:
I had about five minutes with him and we got through a fair amount of material, actually, in that five minutes. The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin — he’s the Missouri Republican who created a firestorm after saying that women’s bodies shut down in a legitimate rape to prevent pregnancy.
Boyd spoke with Romney about other topics. But this particular interview will make more waves for what Romney declared out of bounds than for what he said to Shaun Boyd.
The Denver station showed impeccable adherence to journalistic standards. Before the station even showed Boyd with Romney, it made the ground rules clear to its viewers. Of course, had it failed to do so, all of Denver would have been wondering why Shaun Boyd didn’t have the courage to ask Mitt Romney about abortion and Todd Akin.
That very dynamic also makes the stipulation look like a really boneheaded strategic move for the Romney campaign: Such an explosive pre-interview condition isn’t going to remain a national secret.
Tim Wieland, the news director at the station, says that the Romney camp reached out to the station with an enticement: KCNC would be among four outlets to get a shot at the presumptive Republican nominee in a satellite interview. At the end of the discussion, says Wieland, “There was one stipulation: He’s not going to answer questions about abortion.”
Station officials thought things over and called the campaign back to let it know that a question about Todd Akin was in the offing. The campaign made it clear that Romney was finished talking about Akin. ”Obviously, we didn’t like that stipulation, so we were as transparent as we could be,” says Wieland.
A Romney campaign source says, “This is not how we operate. The matter is being addressed.”
Indeed, it is, according to KCNC. Wieland says, “We owe them a call back.”