Obama Charging Big Bucks for Press Credentials

Thumbing through my feeds today, I came across a rather disturbing post from John Harrington over at Photo Business News and Forums.  Essentially, if you are covering Obama’s election night event in Chicago, you have to pay anywhere from $715 to $1815 for press credentials.

Harrington points out that it’s not unusual “to have the media paying for the construction of risers, tents, and so forth”; however, charging media for access alone is offensive.  Chicago Business points out that:

The only free admissions are for a “general media” area. But, the memo says, “Please note that the general media area is outdoors, unassigned and may have obstructed views . . . standing room only.”

Lynn Sweet, a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, also chimed in on the issue noting:

This is an outrageous pay to play plan that caters to national elite outlets with deep pockets.

While the comments on the news posts linked to above get pretty intense and are clearly politically charged, I’d like to ask your opinion about charging for media credentials for access to an event.

Keep in mind, this isn’t the first time that we’ve see press credentials become an issue in this campaign.  Some press members were put off by the fact that Obama’s press credentials carry a big slogan “Change We Can Believe In” above the smaller-sized word “Press”.  (Discussion here.)

Another poster in the same discussion pointed out that “at McCain events, all you have to do is show your regular press credentials at the door, and they give you the event’s press pass. No pre-registration necessary. Not so with Obama’s campaign.”  Finally, CBS reported on McCain’s spoof press credentials, which took a stab at Obama’s purported favor with the media.

So, what are your thoughts on the press credential issues?