“Senator Obama, are you mad at me?”

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Saturday Night Live has become a fixture in the 2008 Presidential race — profiting so much from the popularity of their political skits, that they have “politics only” prime time specials.  One of SNL’s most memorable satires was a parody of a CNN debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  In that skit a character playing Telemundo correspondent Jorge Ramos is worried that he may have offended Senator Obama and uses a debate question to query, “Senator Obama, are you mad at me?” 

Well, in real life we are seeing what happens to journalists who offend the Obama campaign.  Barbara West, a veteran television reporter at Orlando, Florida’s WFTV, asks some probing and legitimate questions of Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden, and the Obama campaign retaliates. The campaign informed WFTV that it is canceling a scheduled appearance of Mrs. Biden, and that “This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election.”

Is this what the media can expect from an Obama administration?  Ask any question they don’t like and you are “cut-off.”

Contrast that heavy-handed approach with the graciousness of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  Palin’s character and persona have been assailed by journalist as diverse as Maureen Dowd and Peggy Noonan, but the McCain-Palin campaign has not retaliated. Palin is lampooned regularly on SNL by former SNL cast member Tina Fey, and Palin responds as a good-sport who makes a guest appearance with Fey on SNL, producing for the NBC show the highest ratings in years.  Some pundits say that the initials NBC stand for the National Barack Channel.  Yet, their obvious pro-Obama bias is not punished by the McCain-Palin campaign, but rewarded.

Whom do you want managing the White House press office for the next four years — the thin-skinned gang who is punitive to media they don’t like, or the group that can laugh at themselves?

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