The Obama White House press shop has demonstrated (once again) that previous promises about being open and transparent — are transparently false.
The latest dust up came when a pool reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle was threatened with banishment for having the temerity to shoot video with a small hand held camera in addition to scribbling notes. The video, notably, was of protestor at an Obama fund raiser — raising the specter that the press shop’s ire was sparked not so much by a violation of the “print only” pool arrangement — but disgruntlement that a negative blip on the media screen might be highlighted too much.
The Chronicle reporter says that private citizens in the room were using cell phone cameras to record the incident — and she felt obligated to do the same.
It is rarely wise to get overly bureaucratic when dealing with the press. They are not a group that generally cottons to strict imposition of rules and regulations. But it is never wise to dissemble about it — which allegedly is what the White House did. If the latest report in the Chronicle is to be believed — the White House threatened to pull the pool pass for the offending Chronicle reporter — and then when pressed on the action denied it.
Advice to the White House press office. Lighten up. There will be lots more serious situations down the road and overreacting to them only makes you look like you are getting your PR advice from the Syrians.
Can’t we all get along? Answer: Yes We Can.