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article imageNBC Reporter Claims Obama's Iraq Press Coverage Includes 'Fake' Interviews

By Susan Duclos     Jul 22, 2008 in Politics
Andrea Mitchell is NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent and she reports her frustration with the lack of access that reporters are getting from Barack Obama on his overseas trip, saying the Interviews he is giving are considered by some to be fake.
Andrea Mitchell, who is in Iraq, was appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews and Matthews and Roger Simon were discussing how the "optics" of this trip for Obama were very good and that this was exactly what the Obama campaign was hoping for.
Mitchell, who has been described as the "doyenne of the liberal media" surprised many when she interrupted to state, "Let me just say something about the message management. He didn't have reporters with him, he didn't have a press pool, he didn't do a press conference while he was on the ground in either Afghanistan or Iraq. What you're seeing is not reporters brought in. You're seeing selected pictures taken by the military, questions by the military, and what some would call fake interviews, because they're not interviews from a journalist. So, there's a real press issue here. Politically it's smart as can be. But we've not seen a presidential candidate do this, in my recollection, ever before."
Mitchell argues that questions by the military are not delivered in the same manner as those presented by trained journalists; she contends that journalists ask questions a certain way in an effort to dig deep into a subject and get answers. Questions from the military, in this case, are not always difficult or contentious enough to elicit a meaningful response.
Matthews then goes on to question Mitchell about the videos coming out from Obama's trip.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about access to the troops, Andrea. A lot of African-American faces over there, very happy, delighted faces. Is that a representation of the percentage of servicepeople who are African-American, or did they all choose to join someone they like, apparently? What's the story?
MITCHELL: I can't really say that. Being a reporter who was not present in any of those situations, I just cannot report on what was edited out, what was, you know, on the sidelines. That's my issue. We don't know what we are seeing.
Mitchell has been the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC News since 1994. Prior to that she had been NBC News’ Chief White House Correspondent, a position she assumed after covering Bill Clinton from the New Hampshire primary through the entire 1992 presidential campaign.
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