Technology and stricter press discipline have shut out campaign reporters, whose narratives traditionally formed Americans’ impressions of the candidates, Politico reports. John McCain hasn’t spoken to the press corps aboard Straight Talk Air in 5 weeks, and Barack Obama will only chat with on-the-plane reporters off the record—yet both candidates speak to TV press and websites often.
“The access gets worse and worse with every campaign cycle,” says a senior correspondent, noting a trend that stretches beyond this election. Campaign officials say on-the-plane reporters obsess about insider minutiae that distracts from their message. But the candidate with the smallest press corps has proved easier to access: Joe Biden often ventures to the back of the plane.