8/10/2012

The most transparent administration ever won't even let reporters interview people outside an Obama event

Dave Davies is a report for a Philadelphia Public Radio station (WHYY). Pretty amazing. The audio available with the story is also pretty amazing. From WHYY:
Presidential campaign events are always orchestrated stage shows, and reporters are used to campaigns doing their best to manipulate the media and control the day’s narrative.
But my experience Thursday at a Michelle Obama event in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was a first.
Obama campaign operatives barred me from talking to voters outside the event, to the point of interfering with my interviews and grabbing my microphone.
You can hear some audio of one encounter by playing my radio story above.
Here’s what happened:
During the two-hour wait for the rally to begin, I wanted to talk to some of the supporters attending the event. Since I couldn't leave the media pen at the Upper Dublin High School gymnasium, I told press aide Devora Kaye I'd like to go and find some outside.
Kaye, who is exceptionally pleasant, said I could go out and come back in, but that I couldn't talk to people waiting in line for the event. When I asked why, she mentioned security and crowd-control concerns, which honestly made no sense. Everyone coming into the building would have to go through security again anyway.
I went outside. The line was short and things were peaceful. The only members of the public around to talk to were the people in line to get into the rally, so that’s where I went. . . .





I was troubled by this part of the story:
I spoke to Dick Polman, national political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, a 20-year veteran of national politics and also a blogger on Newsworks.org. I described what had happened, and asked for his take. “I've never had that experience, ever, and I'm talking about Republicans and Democrats, in the primaries, in the general election,” Polman said. “I've never been told you can't talk to the people who are right in front of you. It's a sign that the campaigns really really want to control the narrative.” . . .
Campaigns? It was only the Obama campaign. Why would this reporter tar both Romney and Obama?

UPDATE: Apparently, the Obama administration has gone even further in trying to control what is reported by the news media.  A video is available here.
Politico's Jonathan Martin and Washington Post's Chris Cillizza talk to NBC's Chuck Todd about the Obama-Biden campaign's control over reporters and the pool report on Todd's MSNBC program, "The Daily Rundown."
The pool report is a brief memo that is usually written by one reporter that goes out to members of the press who were not able to make it to an event where the president or vice president attended. The pool report often contains a few lines that the president or vice president . . .  said. Sometimes gaffes made by the candidates are included in the report.
Martin says that as of late the Biden campaign team has gone through pool reports and then tells the reporter what is okay and what is not okay to print.
As Martin and Chuck Todd note, this is a memo that is by the press and for the press.
"The Biden aides are trying to edit what's in there while it's been drafted, and then after you send it to them and they're reviewing it, they're looking for potential land mines," Martin revealed. 
"By the way, the only reason it gets sent through them, and I think we're going to have to change the system -- this is an outrage that they do this! The only reason we send it to them is it's the fastest distribution to the press," Chuck Todd said. . . .
"It's a reflection of how much the Biden staff is determined to police him and really save him from himself," Martin observed. . . .

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