NBC News Gets Snippy With Mitt Romney

By Alex Weprin 

Presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is currently in London, the first stop on a tour of Europe. Romney met with British leaders, and will attend the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics tomorrow.

He also, apparently, angered the traveling press that accompanied him on his journey. NBC’s “First Read,” a political newsletter compiled by NBC News political reporters and led by Chuck Todd, recaps what happened in ranty fashion.

Romney’s press-corps faux pas: During his meeting with Miliband, according to the pool report, Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, which isn’t protocol. In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult to the U.S reporters who are following the presumptive GOP presidential nominee overseas. Even bringing this up will lead some to say, “There goes the media, whining again.” But folks, those of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions. Sure, it would have looked REALLY bad had Romney ignored the U.K. questions. But is the campaign so intent on limiting media access that the candidate won’t call an audible when standing next to a leader from another country who DOES want to take questions?

This is a bipartisan challenge for the press corps. Every president in the modern era has decided to pick up on some aspect of limiting media access to the president from their predecessor. The public never cares, because most of them distrust at least half of the press corps. But folks, it’s a slippery slope. Where did Obama get the idea of calling on an ordered list of questioners at press conferences? From George W. Bush. OK, our rant is over.