Here we go again.
Newsweek is out with its “How He Did It” series which offers these insights: A foreign entity — or entities — hacked into the computer systems of both Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns. The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October. The Obama campaign’s New Media experts created a computer program that would allow a “flusher”–the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day–to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. Palin launched her attack on Obama’s association with William Ayers, the former Weather Underground bomber, before the campaign had finalized a plan to raise the issue. On the night she officially lost the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a long and friendly phone conversation with McCain. Clinton was actually on better terms with McCain than she was with Obama. At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys’ club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair.
All of these nuggets were gleaned by deals journalists cut to be embedded, as long as there was a promise that none of it would be used until after the election. OK, a naked candidate, an apparent violation of privacy by a campaign, a foreign threat, a phony sincerity from a former rival may not be bit deals to a lot of people, but what if they provided insight to the American people of the character of the people they were about to elect? What if there had been an actual race-changing nugget? What is the value of this information if people can’t know it until after the point at which people can do something about it?
One can easily make the claim that these aren’t a big deal, but when you make a deal for secrecy, you don’t know the importance and value of what’s coming.
Politicos Michael Calderone, without actually saying so, seems to hint at the question of whether the relationship between embedded reporters on the campaign trail is a little too cozy.