Mr. Obama and the Foreign Media

Friday, July 25, 2008

In the July 20 op-ed "Snubbed by Obama," Christoph von Marschall, Washington bureau chief of the Berlin-based daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, wrote that "to my knowledge," no foreign journalist had had an interview with Sen. Barack Obama.

In fact, on Jan. 24 in South Carolina, we interviewed Mr. Obama for the French magazine Paris Match and Canal Plus television. In the interview, Mr. Obama made news: He told us that if elected he would hold a summit in the Muslim world to address what he described as a growing gap between Islamic countries and the West, and he reiterated his wish to talk directly to the leaders of Iran and Syria. Mr. Obama also spoke of his present trip to Europe.

On Feb. 4, then-Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee referred to Paris Match's interview with Mr. Obama in an op-ed column that Mr. Huckabee contributed to the Jerusalem Post.

But despite our requests and our interview with Mr. Obama, we were not granted permission to accompany him on his trip abroad. Neither were we given permission to travel with him on the campaign trail in the United States.

Foreign journalists covering the U.S. presidential election should have the same access to the candidates as American journalists have. This historic election campaign is being watched all over the world. It is not just a question of who votes in the election but also of who cares about the result.

REGIS LE SOMMIER

LAURA HAIM

New York

The writers are, respectively, U.S. bureau chief for Paris Match and U.S. correspondent for Canal Plus.


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