Thursday, May 5, 2011

Miffed by Restrictions, Wire Services Boycott GOP Candidate Debate in South Carolina

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...Image via WikipediaThe Politico website reports that restrictions on photo-taking at tomorrow night's South Carolina debate of  GOP presidential hopefuls sponsored by Fox News Channel and the state's Republican Party has sparked a boycott of the event by wire services Associated Press and Reuters.

AP is neither sending photographers nor reporters to the event, while Reuters has thus far only confirmed it will not be photographically covering the debate. Debate sponsors are allowing photos during warm-ups, but banning photos once the debate gets underway.

AP claims that the constrained media access differs from the 2008 debate during which AP snapped 80 shots of White House hopefuls, including shots of the candidates behind podiums, suggesting they were answering questions during the debate. The wire services bristled at the notion of a pool photographer only being able to snap grip-n-grin photos before the back-and-forth among the candidates began.

Many of the marquis GOP figures/White House dreamers also are taking a pass on tomorrow's debate, including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and Newt Gingrich, which diminishes the news value. Still, it's a bold move, given that the event is happening in South Carolina, so the wire services risk missing an impromptu attack on Ft. Sumter, an elected official calling the President a liar, or a spontaneous illicit affair by a chief executive.

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