White House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest

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Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

White House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest

by
Peter Hart

The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports:

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.

Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci was the designated "pool" reporter at an Obama fundraiser--meaning that her write-up would be shared with other reporters who were not allowed into the event.

But something truly newsworthy happened--and she reported it:

At the St. Regis event, a group of protesters who paid collectively $76,000 to attend the fundraiser 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.

The Chronicle's story closes with this ironic point about the White House's view of technology and information-sharing:

At Facebook the day before the San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said, "The main reason we wanted to do this is, first of all, because more and more people, especially young people, are getting their information through different media. And obviously, what all of you have built together is helping to revolutionize how people get information, how they process information, how they're connecting with each other."

Apparently Marinucci posting a video was a little too much revolutionizing.

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