As you probably heard, some Mitt Romney surrogates hosted a conference call today to attack Newt Gingrich. Because Romney is attempting to win a Republican primary — and cast Newt Gingrich as unacceptable to conservatives — you probably assume that center-right journalists or conservative bloggers got to ask some questions, right?
Wrong. Here’s the list of reporters and media outlets who were permitted to ask questions:
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS
MARK HALPERIN, TIME
LLOYD GROVE, THE DAILY BEAST
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, TPM
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES
PHIL RUCKER, WASHINGTON POST
That’s it. No Townhall.com, HotAir, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, National Review, Weekly Standard, American Spectator, or Washington Times … you get the picture.
And it’s not as though they limited it to august, mainstream publications. I mean, they took a question from Talking Points Memo…
This is not a complaint or an example of sour grapes — I wasn’t even on the call today (I had a previous engagement.)
But isn’t it pretty stupid politics?
Update: Romney spox Ryan Williams sends along this statement, which I post without comment:
Tonight (as we do with every call) we sent out a media advisory to our regular press list inviting members of the media to join the call. We use a phone conferencing system to manage these calls.
Participants who join the call are then invited to ask a question after the opening comments by pressing “1” on their phones. Question are fielded on a first come, first serve basis. We do not screen out any media organization. Whoever notifies the operator by pressing ”1” first gets to ask their question first.
On tonight’s call we answered every single question in the queue. Every reporter – conservative, liberal or nonpartisan – who wanted to ask a question got to ask one. Organizations that were not called on either didn’t press the number “1” or never joined the call in the first place.