Oct
24
2012

The Des Moines Register has a chance for a teachable moment, here.

Background: Iowa’s Des Moines Register had a tradition of having on-the-record interviews by its editorial board be a prerequisite for consideration for political endorsements.  I say ‘had’ because the Obama administration, after ducking the Register for several months, the Obama campaign more or less forced the paper on Tuesday to compromise and take an off-the-record conference call to the Register’s owner/publisher, instead.  For those wondering, Romney squeezed in time for the Register several weeks ago; the interview was duly recorded and the audio put on the site.

Anyway, here’s the teachable moment.  The Register – rather stupidly, I think – wrote this:

It’s important that I emphasize the White House’s decision won’t play a factor in our board’s final endorsement decision. That would be petty and ridiculous. We take far too seriously what’s at stake this election and what our endorsement should say.

…and that’s precisely why Barack Obama backhanded the Des Moines Register; because he apparently can.  The paper endorsed Obama in 2008, Kerry in 2004, Gore in 2000: and judging from the tone of the article, they’re going to endorse Obama anyway this Saturday.  Which is fine and their right to do so.  But if they do endorse Obama again then no Republican candidate in Iowa should ever agree to the Register’s on-the-record prerequisite ever again.  And the candidates should make it clear that they are simply following the precedent set by Barack Obama.

Because there should not be one rule for Democrats, and another one for Republicans.  Even if you really, really, really want the Democrat to win.

Moe Lane

PS: Again, I fully expect the Des Moines Register to cower like a whipped dog and Barack endorse Obama anyway.  That’s not what this is about.  This is about not presuming to expect respect from me if you won’t even respect yourself.

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1 Comment

  • Mr. Ed says:

    As a former journalist and national PR professional, my perspective is the Register has sacrificed its ethical duties. From a broader sense, every future candidate — further, every person or entity seeking positive press coverage — should only agree to speak to any reporter OFF the record initially. Then, if the interview goes well, agree to go ON the record…and if the interview doesn’t go well, keep the discussion OFF the record. The only way to stop this is for all reporters to NEVER conduct any interview OFF the record…ever…again.

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