Obama throws Washington Times off plane

Washington Times:

The Washington Times, which has covered the Barack Obama campaign from the start, was kicked off the Democrat's campaign plane for the final 72 hours of the race.

The Obama campaign informed the newspaper Thursday evening of its decision, which came two days after the Times editorial page endorsed Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama. The Times editorial page runs completely independent of the news department.

"This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama's campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporter's pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign," said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon.

"I hope the candidate that promises to unite America isn't using a litmus test to determine who gets to cover his campaign."

The Times formally protested the decision, noting that it has one of the top 20 largest newspaper websites in the country, distributes its print edition in the key battleground state of Virginia, and has had its stories repeatedly cited by Mr. Obama and other Democrats throughout the campaign.

"Sen. Obama himself demonstrated he appreciates the importance of The Washington Times and its news coverage. In June, he wrote a letter citing a Times' investigative project that highlighted government mistreatment of our veterans. Sen. Obama requested an investigation by Congress and the administration, both of which confirmed the problems and led to corrective action at the VA. In his August acceptance speech, Sen. Obama also prominently mentioned our interview with Sen. Phil Gramm and the now infamous comments about a 'mental recession' and a 'nation of whiners'," wrote Mr. Solomon in an email to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Times reporter Christina Bellatoni, who has covered the Democratic campaign since 2007 is being asked to leave the campaign plane starting Sunday. In defending its decision, the Obama campaign said it respected Ms. Bellatoni's reporting and simply ran out of seats on the campaign plane for the finale because of high demand. It also noted that the Obama campaign is allowing some news media critical of the democrat to travel, including Fox news.

...

If the Obama campaign thought it could get away with throwing Fox off the plane it would do so. For months it boycotted Fox. It is a campaign that focuses on suppressing negative news. When the campaign is over and the Obama media returns to reporting negative news about him, look for them to be frozen out too.

Politico and Drudge report that the NY Post and the Dallas Morning News were also thrown off the plane. Both papers endorsed McCain.

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