White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.
The Chronicle's Carla Marinucci - who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times - pulled out a small video camera last week and shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.
The White House may claim that she violated a rule by uploading the video before she filed the pool report. On the other hand, the guidelines say.
"Print poolers can snap pictures or take video. They are not obliged to share these pictures...but can make them available if they so choose."
To clarify, what she shot with her phone wasn't the exchange in which the President said Manning "broke the law." It was the outbreak of song -- "We've paid our dues/Where's Our Change?" -- that interrupted his speech. Marinucci's report is here.
The White House, it seems, is trying to control coverage as the President's reelection bid kicks off -- he'll be attending a host of fundraisers, each one a potential site for protest from displeased Democrats -- but do they really believe they can stop video from getting out? On YouTube there are several videos of the Manning protest in addition to Marinucci's. It's 2011. People have phones with video cameras. They use them.
I wonder, too, if it's relevant that the protest in question concerned Bradley Manning. Many people claim that this is a "non-issue," but the treatment of Manning, and the President's defense of it, has clearly provoked intense and visceral opposition among a non-trivial number of liberal Democrats.
The embarrassment for the President helps explains why Manning will now be kept in a medium-security facility, despite all the government claims that he had to be kept in maximum security because he posed a threat to himself. Those claims were obviously lies, because he certainly didn't "get better" in solitary confinement. Still, this is good news, his move to medium security after almost a year in solitary confinement. Someday maybe he'll actually get a trial.