CNN WON’T PLAY BY PALIN’S RULES…. CBS News’ Scott Conroy reported this morning that Sarah Palin’s aides last night notified a network TV producer about her meeting with some world leaders. A pool producer would provide content for the five television networks, and would be on hand to cover the greetings between Palin and the world leaders, but wouldn’t be allowed to sit in on the private meetings.

An hour before Palin’s first meeting was set to begin, however, the campaign changed the rules, and the pool producer was told he would have no access. As Conroy explained, “This means that the McCain/Palin campaign would get the benefit of free pictures of Palin’s meeting with world leaders without having to face the possibility that the candidate might have to answer a question from the media.”

To its credit, CNN decided it didn’t care for Palin’s rules.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has not held a press conference in nearly four weeks of campaigning, on Tuesday banned reporters from her first meetings with world leaders, allowing access only to photographers and a television crew.

CNN, which was providing the television coverage for news organizations, decided to pull its TV crew, effectively denying Palin the high visibility she had sought.

Good call. The McCain campaign’s overbearing handlers are panicked at the notion of a candidate for national office hearing an unscripted question for which she has not been prepped. As a result, they want the benefit of the images, without the risk of embarrassment.

As it turns out, presidential campaigns in a democracy don’t work this way. Palin is set to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe — the first world leaders she’s ever come in contact with — and she wanted voters to see her in this setting, bolstering her non-existent record on international affairs.

If only she and her team had the confidence to endure a question or two, the media coverage would have worked to the campaign’s advantage. But, no. McCain’s team doesn’t trust Palin, and can’t take the risk of another embarrassment.

What a farce.

Update: It looks like the McCain campaign realizes it was pushing its luck. Michael Calderone reports, “I’ve now heard that as a result of protests from the press, a TV producer was eventually permitted into the first meeting, but no print reporter. At the two subsequent meetings, there will be both TV and print pool reporters on hand.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.