UPDATED: Tea Party convention hosts Palin and bans the press. Except Palin employer Fox News

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Media message from the right wing: If you don't give the Tea Party "fair coverage," then you will be banned from covering its convention.

And who says the conservative movement doesn't hold journalism in contempt?

As we noted this morning, next month's Tea Party convention featuring Sarah Palin will essentially be closed to the press. Unless, that is, you work for Rupert Murdoch (Fox News and WSJ), or a fringe, far-right site like Townhall, WND, or Breitbart. According to Tea Party planners, those are the only "journalists" who will be allowed in next month.

Considering that Palin is now on Fox News' payroll, the cabler's exclusive status at the Palin convention presents a rather Manwich-sized conflict of interest, no?

Meanwhile, Politico's Michael Calderone adds more context:

Event organizer Judson Phillips told POLITICO that the first priority is to have a working convention, and that press is a secondary concern. Initially, he said, the "game plan was to deny media access."

But with limited space, he said, the organizers "picked some groups that we had some contact with."

When asked if ideology was part of the criteria in choosing, Phillips said "no." Also, I specifically asked why the Journal was selected as opposed to other news outlets that applied, including POLITICO.

Calderone reported that a WSJ spokesman didn't have a comment regarding whether the newspaper would cover the convention, given how every other mainstream news outlet had been banned. If the Journal actually accepts the credentials under the current conditions, then I don't think there will be any doubt left about whether or not Murdoch's newspaper really operates as a professional, nonpartisan entity.

UPDATED: What do editors at the conservative Weekly Standard and National Review have to say about this situation? As working journalists, are they OK with the Tea Party excluding journalists? And how do they feel about being banned by organizers? Doesn't feel so good, does it?

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