Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bwahaha! Maureen Dowd Kicked Off McCain Plane

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times' op-ed columnist, is no longer welcome on the McCain-Palin press plane.

She sent an email to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"I had had a great relationship with John McCain for 16 years, through columns he liked and didn't like. So at first I thought it was a mistake and doublechecked with the press office. They said I was banned from both planes for 'the foreseeable future.' Then [McCain spokeswoman] Nicole Wallace was gloating about it to reporters on the Palin plane," Dowd wrote in an email.

"It was disappointing because I didn't think John McCain would ever be as dismissive of the First Amendment as Dick Cheney."

A couple of notes. First, when did the First Amendment extend to a seat on a plane? Goodness, if that's the case I've had my First Amendment rights violated my entire life. Ms. Dowd could certainly arrange her own travel and cover every news event as it happens -- she's just not actually a news reporter so that would be a little too pedestrian, I guess. It's no secret that in recent weeks the McCain campaign has called out the New York Times as a biased and unfair news operation.

What's more, Ms. Dowd has a column up today, and has had columns published on her regularly scheduled slots in the NYT without interruption since being booted off the plane August 30. I don't see any First Amendment violation here.

Second, Barack Obama's campaign did precisely the same thing to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who lost his seat on the junket to Europe after the New Yorker got sideways with Team O over a sarcastic cover featuring a cartoon of Michelle Obama as Angela Davis and Barack in Somali garb in the Oval Office. Few cries of First Amendment violation there.

It gets even better if you read the comments on these stories at Huffington Post or Daily Kos. Schadenfreude is a term for quiet joy when seeing the pain of others, there needs to be a similar term for self-satisfaction at seeing the stupidity of others. I hope that if Obama wins the netroots people don't actually get to influence things. It's already been established (through a poll, asterisk asterisk) that a whopping 29% of self-identified Obama voters believe the Supreme Court should rule based on what's in the Constitution, so it is entirely possible that the First Amendment entitles Ms. Dowd to her seat on the Straight-Talk Express.

There does appear to be an upside to an Obama win: your seat on an airplane is no longer a contractual agreement between you and an airline, it's now a Constitutional Right!


Mo MoDo said...

But to ditch her in Pittsburgh is just not very classy.

Darren Duvall said...

There is air service in Pittsburgh. For some of us, Pittsburgh would be considered a "Big City".

According to a web search that took me three minutes, US Airways has four flights to JFK and eight to LGA, as well as six to Reagan National in DC. All direct, no stops.

Hey, you write your columns and the chips fall. I'm pretty sure the NYT would reimburse her for her travel expense home.

Being catty about it later, as the press secretary did -- yeah, that's un-classy. That's the kind of thing I would have talked about only if asked, and then in a matter-of-fact manner.

Then again, I wonder if the straw that broke the camel's back was something that has yet to be published. It's telling that this has taken a whole month to get into the blogosphere, I wonder why neither side particularly wanted to talk about it, and why Ms. Dowd is talking about it now.