Obama purges reporters from newspapers that endorsed McCain

The Drudge Report writes this:

The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states -- and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!

The NY POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs -- and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Despite pleas from top editors of the three newspapers that have covered the campaign for months at extraordinary cost, the Obama campaign says their reporters -- and possibly others -- will have to vacate their coveted seats so more power players can document the final days of Sen. Barack Obama's historic campaign to become the first black American president. . . .

This should concern everyone. The Washington Times has this follow up:

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign decided to jettison The Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News from the Democrat's campaign plane, insisting the expulsions were due to lack of seats and not because all three newspapers endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain for president.

The campaign said it ran out of room on Mr. Obama's Boeing 757 because more reporters and photographers from his hometown newspapers -- the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times -- were coming aboard, as well as reporters from black-oriented magazines Ebony and Jet and the candidate's wife, Michelle Obama, and her Secret Service bodyguards.

Other campaign staff said space was tight because TV network news celebrities were joining the trip and the HBO documentary film crew recording the final leg of his historic run for a project by actor Edward Norton joined the plane Friday.

"Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues, we made the decision not to add a second plane," Obama campaign senior adviser Anita Dunn said. "This means we've had to make hard and unpleasant for all concerned decisions about limiting some news organizations and in some cases not being in a position to offer space to news organizations altogether."

The campaign said The Times reporter will be off the plane as of Sunday. Separately, the campaign also denied a request from a Times photographer who has traveled on the plane previously.

I would be interested in someone computing the probabilities that this decision was random. I don't know the number of reporters on a plane, but, say, 75 percent of the press seats are held by media that have supported Obama. The probability that you would get three organizations thrown off that were all on the other side is only 1.6 percent. If 80 percent of the press seats were held by the media, the probability would be only 0.8 percent.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This shows what life in America will be like with the return of the unFairness Doctrine!

10/31/2008 4:41 PM  
Blogger ICONIC FREEDOM said...

I think it's great that BO keeps revealing to everyone who he really is; his racist views(typical white person); his inability to allow freedom of thought; his socialism viewpoints; his friends who are unhealthy if not dangerous

Along with a plethora of other character defaults

What he's doing is so loud, who could possibly hear what he's saying

(BTW John, I mentioned your name on Rush Limbaugh's show today; you've greatly influenced my understanding about certain subjects and I'm grateful)

10/31/2008 5:39 PM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

First Biden "bans" reporters and stations that feed him hard questions he can't handle.

The LA Times says it can't release a tape because it might "jeapordize" their source.

Joe the Plumber is publicly vetted more deeply than Bama has been for talking back.

Hang Palin, it's bad taste. Hang Bama, go to jail.

Reporters tossed off the plan to make room for more useful reporters.

Obama mutters about a national civilian defense force and teen-agers in blue shirts and camo pants drill to mantras of Bama's greatness.

So, three years into his reign, what happens to citizens who are less than cheerfully cooperative with zee orders from on High?

Camping trip of a lifetime to an ethanol plantation owned by Algore?

10/31/2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thank you, Scooteraz. I thought that I had heard someone say it, though I am glad that you posted because Rush talked over it and I wasn't 100 percent sure. Sowell was a professor of mine at UCLA. He was a great teacher and so I guess that you have also gotten some influence from Sowell through my work also. Thank you very much for the plug. That was very nice of you.

10/31/2008 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soon even fewer will understand your mathematical logic.

11/01/2008 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the odds actually be lower?

If there were 64 spots (which is what the Washington Times reports) and assume, as Lott does, that 75% are friendly and 25% are hostile to Obama, then the odds of the first "hostile" being kicked off the plane are 16 in 64, or 25%. For the next it would be 15 in 63 and the next would be 14 in 63. So the chances of only "hostiles" being kicked off randomly would be .013 or 1.3 percent.

If the ratio was 80/20 you have to do some rounding, so let's say 13 are hostile and 51 are friendly. The odds of the first pick being hostile are 13 in 64, the second 12 in 63 and the third 11 in 62. That puts the odds at around .0068 or .68 percent.

Lott seems to have assumed in the first scenario that the chances for each hostile being kicked off randomly are .25, which isn't correct, because the ratio changes as each change is made, and that the chances in the second scenario are .2, which isn't correct either for the same reason.

I already commented on this post (though Lott hasn't posted it yet, if he ever does) that obviously it wasn't random selection. Just like the way Bush has interacted with the press isn't random, nor is the way McCain does.

But I thought it was work checking Lott's use of statistics since I've found it to be unreliable in the past.

11/01/2008 11:03 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Clark:

When I wrote this, I didn't know the number of reporters on the flights. The number is 150, not 64 as you assume.

30/150 = .2
29/149 = .195
28/148 = .1892

0.74 percent

11/03/2008 1:16 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

It's his plane and campaign, he can have whomever he wants on and off. It's pathetic to think that this is some sort of 'tell' into how he'll govern. Keep grasping for straws, guys. And cling to those guns and religion. They'll keep you warm at night.

11/03/2008 2:53 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Derek:

Do you understand the issue is whether Obama is being honest about his reasons? The point of the statisical test was to see if Obama's claim that it was just a random draw was correct. The odds that Obama was right that these newspapers were not singled out according to their positions is extremely low.

Dear Clark:

In case you didn't understand this, the way that I did the calculation was biased in Obama's favor.

11/03/2008 4:38 PM  

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