Now that Mitt Romney's high-profile trip to three key U.S. allies has ended, members of the press corps that followed the former Massachusetts governor during the journey are complaining that they had very little access to the GOP presidential candidate and “didn't come all the way here to handle photo ops.”
“Over seven days in the U.K., Israel and Poland, Romney held just one media availability for the U.S. traveling press -- and even then, standing outside 10 Downing Street in London, he answered only three questions,” wrote Dylan Byers in an article on Politico.com. “While he gave a series of interviews to the major television networks, he granted no interviews to other U.S. outlets.
Ashley Parker of the New York Times noted on her Twitter account that “Romney did do TV interviews” -- two apiece with NBC News, CNN and Fox News, and one each with ABC News and CBS News.
Meanwhile, Romney advisor Kevin Madden told Politico that the campaign did its best to balance the goals of meeting with foreign officials while also “carving out enough time to conduct media interviews with national news organizations.”
The governor kept a very full and busy itinerary from the U.K. to Israel and on through to Poland. The governor also made time for interviews that included every broadcast and cable news network, consisting of almost two hours of questions and answer time with those news organizations.
According to Byers, the tensions came to a head in Warsaw when reporters, increasingly aware that there would be no end-of-tour press availability with the candidate, began shouting questions at Romney as he walked back to his vehicle from a wreath-laying at their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” traveling press aide Rick Gorka shouted back. “Show some respect,” he added before telling a reporter to “shove it.” The aide later apologized to some of the reporters for his remarks.
“When then-Sen. Obama went overseas in 2008, he held four press conferences in as many countries and took at least 25 questions, according to the Obama campaign,” Byers noted. “McCain, meanwhile, was known to visit the back of his press bus frequently to talk with reporters.”
Madden also told Politico that the Romney campaign “will continue to work with our traveling press corps to ensure that we maintain an open and well-managed level of access.”
The press probably won’t be 100 percent happy with the level of access, just like any campaign isn’t 100 percent happy with the way some stories are reported, but the governor respects the press and the job they’re doing and we value the forum the media provides to deliver the governor’s message to voters and the public at large.
Meanwhile, at hotair.com, Erika Johnsen stated that “certain members of the media” are covering the trip as if it was “the most gaffe-tastic episode in the history of modern politics.”
Instead, she noted that “all this talk about his supposed 'gaffes' is just more media baloney meant to steer the masses away from the crucial issues:”
Perhaps the most insightful comments on the press coverage of Romney's trip came from Richard Grenell at FoxNews.com, who stated: “Instead of sending political reporters who report on politics, foreign affairs reporters might have given us serious reporting on the international issues raised when the Republican nominee for president traveled abroad.”
“Most of the political reporters covering Romney’s foreign travel also failed to critique or contrast the Obama administration’s policies toward the countries Romney was traveling in,” Grenell stated. “The Romney declaration on Jerusalem [as Israel's capital city] stood in stark contrast to current U.S. policy and the recent fumblings by Obama administration officials on the same subject.”
“While visiting Poland, Romney met with and received the endorsement of former Polish President Lech Walesa,” Grenell noted, who “was the leader of Solidarity, the anti-Soviet trade union that also became a Polish social movement.”
“Walesa’s endorsement of Romney was a direct assault at Obama’s failure to stand with human rights activists around the world,” Grenell stated. “With 7,500 people killed in Syria during President Obama’s term, you would think reporters traveling in Poland would be interested in Walesa’s expertise and how it relates to current U.S. policy -- especially while traveling overseas.”
However, Grenell noted that Parker “consecutively ignored those weighty issues. Instead, Parker wrote stories on campaign donors’ views, fund-raisers and what she perceived to be political slip-ups.”
Meanwhile, John Nolte from Breitbart.com stated: “Now that the trip is over, Benjamin Netanyahu and Lech Walesa loved hosting Romney, and the Palestinians and our crybaby media are boo-hooing like the spoiled children they are.”
“In other words, Romney's trip was about as successful as it gets,” he added.