Obama Boots Reporters From Conservative Papers

Was move coincidence or does Obama camp dislike their coverage?

ByABC News
October 31, 2008, 1:16 PM

Oct. 31, 2008 — -- Barack Obama's campaign has booted from its airplane three reporters who work for newspapers that have endorsed John McCain.

The campaign says that a limited number of seats forced it to make the tough decision of which journalists would be permitted to follow the Democratic presidential candidate in the last four days of the campaign, but the papers are calling foul, claiming they were targeted for their editorial-page positions and kicked off while nonpolitical publications like Glamour and Jet magazines remained on board.

Eliminated from the plane's traveling press were the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News.

"It feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth," said John Solomon, executive editor of the Washington Times.

"We paid all along to travel and cover Obama. This is a matter of basic fairness. We've committed a lot of resources and have been covering Obama since the beginning. By the campaign's own admission our reporter has done a fair job," he said.

"We've covered him since 2007 and paid our dues. By the numbers we've covered Obama longer and given more coverage to him than many of the other people who were given seats. Our readers are mostly from Virginia, an important battleground state. He's not punishing us, he is punishing them," Solomon said.

The Times is one of the most-read news Web sites in the country and has one of the highest circulations in Virginia, Solomon said. He said the paper would fly its reporters on its own to continue coverage.

In the final days of a campaign, it is not uncommon for journalists to be shuffled as multiple news agencies rush to get a coveted seat close to the candidate.

"Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues we made the decision not to add a second plane," said Obama campaign senior adviser Anita Dunn.

"This means we've had to make hard and unpleasant for all concerned decisions about limiting some news organizations and in some cases not being in a position to offer space to news organizations altogether," she said.