The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee said.White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.
The White House press office would not speak on the record about the issue.
Chronicle senior political reporter Carla Marinucci was invited by the White House to cover the Obama fundraiser on April 21 on the condition that she send her written report to the White House to distribute to other reporters who did not attend. Such "pool reports" are routinely used for press coverage at White House events that are not open to the entire press corps.
About 200 donors paying $5,000 to $38,500 each attended the event at the St. Regis Hotel in the city, a day after Obama visited Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley touting the proliferation of "new media" breaking the confines of traditional journalism.
At the St. Regis event, a group of protesters who paid collectively $76,000 to attend interrupted Obama with a song complaining about the administration's treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked U.S. classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
As part of a "print-only pool," Marinucci was limited by White House guidelines to provide a print-only report, but Marinucci also took a video of the protest, which she posted in her written story on the online edition of The Chronicle at SFGate.com and on its politics blog after she sent her written pool report.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Why in the world would the White House go through the trouble of getting angry at the SF Chronicle for broadcasting a video of those goofy, middle aged lefty women who sang a song about Bradley Manning at one of Obama's fundraisers? Guess mainstream media people always have to be on their best behavior around The One.
The "problem," if you can call it that, was that Chron reporter Carla Marinucci was the pool reporter for the fund raiser. Marinucci is a print reporter, and yet she pulled out a small video recorder and started taping the proceedings. Incredible, I know. According to the White House, this violated the Guild's rules. If you read the linked article you can read a lot of tedious rationalizing about how the lines between print and video journalists has been blurred in the era of New Media, as if a million amateur bloggers haven't been writing stories and posting videos for years. If George Bush had done this... well, you know.