Do political candidates count on local reporters to ask softball questions?

Earlier this week, Greg Marx highlighted a New York Times story that described why Texas Gov. Rick Perry campaigned in person around the state: It netted him more favorable coverage. Marx writes in a followup (also based on a Times story) that Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann’s press secretary is employing a similar strategy by singling out local reporters for questions, which tend to be less pointed.

“There’s no need to screen specific inquiries if you can reliably expect softballs from the people you allow to ask questions,” Marx writes, although he also notes that “the Times is in a way flattering itself and its national competitors by pointing out how Bachmann prefers the local press.”

He concludes that other candidates will likely follow Perry and Bachmann’s lead in trying to figure out how to get the best coverage. “If they want to remain relevant, it’s important that journalists at both the local and national levels pay attention to that effort—and start thinking about how to push back.” || Related: Bachmann’s campaign staff have been involved in five “hostile encounters” with reporters so far | Why reporter asked Bachmann if she would be submissive to her husband

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  • Henry Potter

    One thing Perry did not during his 2010 campaign was meet with the editorial board of the major newspapers in Texas.  Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth was profound.  How dare he ignore the arbiters of public opinion?  

    Perry won with 61% of the vote, while newspaper editorial boards are becoming steadily more and more irrelevant.