Don’t shut the press out of the GOP event
Republican Party leaders have one obvious step to take this week: Fire whoever came up with the crazy idea of holding the party convention behind closed doors. It was a blatantly bad idea — almost a gift to their opponents.
GOP leaders from throughout the nation will gather later this month in Charlotte, N.C., for the party’s presidential nominating convention. President Donald Trump will get the nod.
On Saturday, it was reported that some Republican National Committee officials favor holding the nomination vote in private, with no members of the press or public allowed.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press Friday, Aug. 21 — Monday, Aug. 24,” a convention spokesman told reporters.
At one time, both parties’ national conventions fit neatly into the smoke-filled rooms category, literally as well as figuratively. Backroom deals were common. Candidates for president and, more particularly, vice president, sometimes were decided by political bosses at the conventions.
That has changed. By the time conventions are held, primary elections usually have decided the candidates.
Still, many Americans wonder how much influence the bosses exert at conventions.
Holding one behind closed doors might not cripple the press. Most good reporters have plenty of sources.
Besides, as in the past, much of the news is made off the convention floor.
But closing the convention would have sent an undesirable message of secrecy. One could not blame Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden for capitalizing on it.
There are plenty of ways RNC officials could allow press coverage of the convention safely. We assume that by the time you read this, they will have come to their senses and announced such an arrangement.