Usually the term press coverage refers to reporting. But on Saturday a group of political reporters who all work for mainstream news outlets gave that phrase a new meaning: helping a presidential candidate cover her body — literally.
Fox News reports that CNN’s Maeve Reston, NBC News’s Ali Vitali, and CBS News’s Caitlin Huey-Burns “took a break from the political journalism” to join Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as she shopped for clothes. The gals even encouraged “the Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful to try on clothes and giggle[d] with her at a South Carolina boutique.”
So their liberal viewers wouldn’t feel left out of the fun, the three even “documented the laugh-filled shopping spree on Twitter”:
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) February 16, 2019
As Fox emphasizes, all three reporters are billed as straight-news journalists, not opinion hosts, adding that they may have crossed a line:
Reporters have historically interacted with candidates on the campaign trail, but picking out clothing pushes boundaries in the eyes of many critics. Reston’s tweet was met with a plethora of negative feedback.
Needless to say, the whataboutists turned out in force to attempt to deflect the criticism:
Didn’t Cronkite go shopping with JFK for boat shoes on Martha’s Vineyard? 🙂 This is too funny!
— Andrea E T. (@coollatina76) February 17, 2019
Ah yes. The usual double standard: conservative media is allowed to pal around with Republican politicians, but mainstream journalists aren’t allowed to have human interactions with politicians because then clearly they couldn’t possibly be competent at their jobs???? https://t.co/VbkIg2C5bj
— Brian Rosenwald (@brianros1) February 16, 2019
— Gene Cronin (@EJCII) February 16, 2019
Nobody seemed to have a problem when the candidate was @ScottWalker and the activity was motorcycle riding
Or @MittRomney riding jet skis on vacation
Or skeet shooting with @LindseyGrahamSC
I’m all for female candidates expanding the list of campaign activities https://t.co/KgIgxnNW5x
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) February 16, 2019
Others attempted to find independent rationalization for why this wasn’t so much rump kissing.
They’re touring small business in the neighborhood, especially stores owned by black women. They’re in small rooms together with merchandise. Are the reporters not supposed to acknowledge the candidate or speak to where they’re at?
— Darren Edward Johnston (@DarrenEdward) February 16, 2019
But in the end the wiseguys won the day:
There’s embedded media; there’s in bedded media.
— Autonomous (@w00t_Rep) February 16, 2019
OMG! Half of CNN will probably join her administration if she’s elected. Oh wait….
— mrs panstreppon (@mrspanstreppon) February 17, 2019