We think this media tradition of daily journalists making deals with campaigns in which they agree, in exchange for access, not to report all kinds of stories until after the election has outlived its usefulness. And frankly, during this cycle it doesn't appear that journalists were able to rustle up that many great scoops that justify their willingness to sit on stories until campaigns give them the okay to write them up.
Newsweek is now hyping its latest, this-is-what-we-didn't-tell-during-the-election edition, Newsweek 2008 Special Election. Here's how a former Newsweek writer described the deal the mag struck for the election cycle:
The agreement Newsweek had made with each of the campaigns was that in addition to the reporters covering them day to day, there would be another bunch whose material would be kept confidential and published in a special issue of the magazine, as well as in a book, that would come out after the election.
Why would news orgs agree to keep confidential newsworthy information about presidential campaigns? It strikes us as odd. As for what Newsweek was able to come up with behind the scenes, judging from its press release, it hardly seemed worth bending the rules of journalism. i.e. Zzzzzz:
-- McCain also was reluctant to use Obama's incendiary pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue. He had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military.
-- Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary's name came up in veep discussions, and Obama's advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, "Are we sure?" He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good.
-- McCain was dumbfounded when Congressman John Lewis, a civil-rights hero, issued a press release comparing McCain with former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist infamous for stirring racial fears.