‘Thought police patrol convention’s Radio Row’

That was the headline over John Fund’s column on the Democratic National Convention.

Fund, of the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and the National Review Online, wrote:

“Conservative talk-show hosts who came to Charlotte to interview political figures are furious. For the first time in anyone’s memory, Radio Row – the designated set of booths available to visiting talk-show hosts – has seen restrictions placed on its use by Team Obama. DNC staffers at Radio Row will book leading Democrats for slots on conservative stations but then cancel the appearances an hour or so before broadcast ‘because you’re not our audience.’

“Roger Hedgecock, a former mayor of San Diego now hosting a nationally syndicated talk show, decided to pack up and leave Charlotte early because ‘we were blocked from getting any guests that mattered. It was a complete freeze.’ Larry O’Connor of Breitbart Radio told me, ‘It was the most bizarre act of censorship. These shows paid large fees and spent thousands on equipment setup and they couldn’t do their programs because of interference.'”

I know both Roger Hedgecock and John Fund as reasonable, dedicated and congenial members of the Fourth Estate. And I share their understandable disgust with that Democratic National Convention. My accreditation at this 22nd national convention I have covered was through Fox News, of which WCBM Baltimore is an affiliate.

But someone within that Democratic convention structure (which led Roger Hedgecock to walk out) arranged for me to be housed in South Carolina, 26 miles away, as the only Fox-accredited reporter housed in a motel in Rock Hill, S.C. – with no instruction as to where to pick up credentials.

From the chairman emeritus of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, there came the following:

“Every four years, there is predictable call, usually from jaded members of the media, to abandon the quadrennial political conventions. They argue that the rhetoric and pageantry are empty and that there is too little drama in the all-but-assured nominations. While there is a kernel of truth to these arguments, political conventions serve useful purposes and will be with us a while longer.

“The conventions – which I predict will be three-day events from now on – allow each party to directly present their message and candidates to the American people without media interpretation.”

While this Democratic leader may regard some of us as “jaded” (and I regard Dean as one of the most unpleasantly hostile politicians I can remember in all 22 conventions I have covered), none of the TV networks are covering more than a small fraction of all those speeches.

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