The day after President Barack Obama spoke to journalists at the AP lunch, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to journalists at the same convention. Here are highlights:
Over the last ten months, I’ve come to know a good deal about some of the journalists who write for your newspapers.
We’ve aired our dirty laundry together – sometimes literally as well as figuratively. We’ve bathed hour upon hour in the fine diesel aroma of a campaign bus. And we’ve shared more birthdays and holidays with each other than with our families.
One of the reporters covering our campaign is Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times. For Maeve’s birthday, I got her a cake and sang her a birthday song. For my birthday, she was kind enough to remind me that I’m now old enough to qualify for Medicare.
In just the few years since my last campaign, the changes in your industry are striking. Then, I looked to Drudge or FOX or CNN online to see what stories were developing. Hours after a speech, it was being dissected on the Internet. Now, it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.
Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us. We identify with LBJ’s famous quip that if he were to walk on water, your headline would read: “President Can’t Swim.”
Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources. Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control. I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.
How your industry will change, I cannot predict. I subscribe to Yogi Berra’s dictum: “Forecasting is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.”
But I do know this: You will continue to find ways to provide the American people with reliable information that is vital to our lives and to our nation. And I am confident that the press will remain free. But further, I salute this organization and your various institutions in your effort to make it not only free, but also responsible, accurate, relevant, and integral to the functioning of our democracy. …
The voters will expect each of us to put our respective views on the table. We will each make our case, buttressed by our experience. The voters will hear the debates, be buffeted by advertising, and be informed by your coverage. And hopefully after all this, they will have an accurate understanding of the different directions we would take and the different choices we would make.
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