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Friday, April 29, 2011

Obama Threatens to Ban Carla Marinucci, Chron Reporter, from White House Press Pool

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM

click to enlarge Separated At Birth? - MATT SMITH
  • Matt Smith
  • Separated At Birth?

Is President Barack Obama Cosmo G. Spacely, the tyrannical chairman of Spacely Space Sprockets who banished George Jetson whenever he misused technology? Obama aides recently threatened to deny presidential access to a Chronicle reporter, after she used a cellphone camera to videotape protesters during a San Francisco fundraiser.

Here is the moral (according to Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein): Obama doesn't "get"  space-age news technology.

"The Chronicle's Carla Marinucci -- who like many contemporary reporters has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times -- shot some protesters," Bronstein wrote in today's Chronicle. "By banning her, and by not acknowledging how contemporary media works,

the White House did not just put Carla in a cage, but more like one of

those stifling pens reserved for calves on their way to being veal."

Frankly, we're proud of our Chron brethren -- despite Bronstein's veal metaphor -- for refusing to buckle to presidential demands, and instead producing blanket coverage denouncing Obama's move.

Not all journalists were happy. One Willamette Week freelancer denounced the Chron for failing to name the whining Obama flack who gave Marinucci the boot.

Did the Chronicle grant the complaining official the privilege of

complaining without taking responsibility for their words? Why would any

journalist do that? All complaints (excluding psychiatric cases) should

be heard, but never anonymous complaints from government officials. To

let government officials complain anonymously is to treat the government

as a power unto itself rather than a creation of the people (see

Constitution, preamble).

Good lord. During a reporter's daily grind, she encounters public officials attempting to obstruct access and conceal information, thus denying the public its right to know. To a reporter, each one of these instances viscerally feels like a great story. But she realizes that readers would be bored by daily stories recounting a reporter's work travails; they would rather read real news about public life. So that's probably why you don't read many politicians-denying-public access stories in the paper, despite the fact that it happens all the time.

In this case, Chronicle editors and reporters had the good sense to realize it really was big news when the president's staff attempted to punish a reporter for letting viewers see a video of a public protest.

So Carolyn Lochead flubbed a little by failing to name the offending flack; but noble acts aren't always perfect.

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