A fine whine

A FINE WHINE…. If you haven’t seen it, the campaign dispatch this week from CBS News’ Dean Reynolds is worth reading. It’s been getting quite a bit of attention, and with good reason — it’s an 800-word piece complaining that the Obama campaign doesn’t do enough to make reporters like him feel comfortable.

Apparently, Reynolds spent about a year traveling with the Obama campaign, but spent a few days with the McCain campaign, and noticed some behind-the-scenes differences.

The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans. Nor is there much sympathy for those of us who report for a newscast that airs in the early evening hours. Our shows place a premium on live reporting from the scene of campaign events. But this campaign can often be found in the air and flying around at the time the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” is broadcast. I suspect there is a feeling within the Obama campaign that the broadcast networks are less influential in the age of the internet and thus needn’t be accomodated [sic] as in the days of yore. Even if it’s true, they are only hurting themselves by dissing audiences that run in the tens of millions every night.

The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps. When he is available, John McCain is friendly and loquacious. Obama holds news conferences, but seldom banters with the reporters who’ve been following him for thousands of miles around the country. Go figure.

It’s quite a pity party Dean Reynolds has thrown for himself here. The Obama campaign’s baggage calls are too early. Obama aides don’t offer enough information about the senator’s schedule. The Obama campaign’s plane is “cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time.” The Obama campaign isn’t quick enough when it comes to making speeches available to reporters.

Reynolds concludes that the Obama campaign acts like it “doesn’t have the time” to “attend to the needs of reporters.” He concludes, though, that “everything that goes around comes around.”

That last line seems vaguely threatening, as if Reynolds wants the campaign to know that there might be payback for having a smelly airplane.

It’s one thing for someone to have petty, unprofessional thoughts, and maybe even share them with colleagues or family members. But Reynolds actually published this, for all the world to see.

How very odd.

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Steve Benen

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.