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Obama Campaign Cuts Off TV Station’s Access After Reporter Quotes Marx During Biden Interview

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Officials for Sen. Barack Obama’s operation in Florida have told WFTV, Channel 9 in Orlando, that contact with the campaign in the future is unlikely because of questions its reporter asked Sen. Joe Biden during a remote interview.

Reporter Barbara West quoted Karl Marx during an interview with Biden and asked how Obama isn’t being a Marxist with the “spreading the wealth” comment.

“You may recognize this famous quote, ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’ That’s from Karl Marx,” West asked. “How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?”

“Are you joking? Is this a joke?,” Biden asked. “No,” West answered. “Or is that a real question?” “That’s a real question,” she said.

West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early in his tenure as president, asking if the Delaware senator was saying America’s days as the world’s leading power were over.

“I don’t know who’s writing your questions,” Biden shot back.

Later, the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Biden’s wife Jill.

“This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election,” wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign. In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel on Friday, Adrianne Marsh, Florida spokeswoman for Obama’s campaign, said the station, in talking with Sen. Biden, was both combative and woefully uninformed about simple facts. “In a line of questioning that would make Rush Limbaugh proud, West even went as far as to quote Karl Marx, a Communist icon, in a disturbing attempt to associate Barack Obama with socialism.”

McGinnis said the Biden cancellation was “a result of her husband’s experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West.”

West defended her questions in an interview with Hal Boedeker of the the Orlando Sentinel: “I have a great deal of respect for him. I have a great deal of respect for Sen. Obama. We are given four minutes of a satellite window for these interviews. Four precious minutes. I got right down to it and, yes, I think I asked him some pointed questions. These are questions that are rolling about right now and questions that need to be asked. I don’t think I was rude or inconsiderate to him. I think I was probing and maybe tough. I can’t believe that in all of his years in politics, and all of his campaigning and such, that he hasn’t run into some tough questions before. He’s certainly up to it in giving good answers.”

Others in the media have hammered West for her line of questioning.

Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel wrote:

This is the most embarrassing interview I’ve ever seen on local television. This has nothing to do with whether you are for Obama or McCain. It’s about being professional. Quoting Karl Marx?

Even Sean Hannity wouldn’t be so ham-handed. Making matters worse, it looks like Barbara is just dumbly reading questions someone just handed her, then staring blankly at the screen. Biden made her look like a complete dimwit. Not that this was hard.

Ben Smith of Politico called it a highly entertaining hostile interview.

But really, why can’t she ask Joe Biden or any one else a question that is on the minds of many conservatives and independents? There are many voters who are wondering why Obama’s “spreading the wealth” remark shouldn’t be compared to socialism. Obama made the comment, and then he later said he stands by it. He and his campaign should a.) expect questions about it and b.) should be ready to defend it, and c.) not cut off access to news organizations that dares ask about it.

It’s not the job of journalists to ask politicians questions that only fit nicely into their talking points.

Progressive bloggers are going nuts over the interview, that’s to be expected. But a troubling aspect about this incident is the response from the established media. Why should journalists defend the politicians and not their colleague? Why is Thomas calling her dumb? Aren’t journalists paid to ask tough questions? Making a politician squirm a bit isn’t always a bad thing, especially when you ask about their proposed tax policy. And in this case, many other taxpayers are comparing the “spreading the wealth” plan to Marxism and socialism. It’s a ligitmate question.

Is it going to be standard operating procedure in the Obama White House and the left to ridicule someone who doesn’t follow the company line? Joe the Plumber and Gov. Sarah Palin certainly know what it’s like to take the heat because they disagree with Obama. This is starting to become an ugly pattern for people who are not true believers of Obama’s change.

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Written by newscycle

October 25, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Obama, Orlando Sentinel

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