So much for freedom of the press. The Boston Herald found out that the freedom to print also comes with consequences. When Barack Obama showed up in Boston on Wednesday for a fundraiser, the Boston Herald was denied access. Why? Because two months ago, the newspaper ran an op-ed on its front page by Mitt Romney which was critical of Obama.
As reported in a story on the Fox News web site, “when the newspaper tried to sign up for pool reporter duty ahead of Obama’s visit to Boston, a White House spokesman questioned whether the newspaper could cover the president fairly.”
“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” spokesman Matt Lehrich told the Herald in response to its request, according to the newspaper. “My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it, but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting U.S. President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits.”
However, in typical Obama administration fashion, the story soon changed, and another White House spokesman claimed that the Boston Herald reporter was excluded simply because there wasn’t enough room:
“In this particular instance, the Boston Globe had arranged with the White House Correspondents Association, independent of the White House press office, to be part of the traveling press pool. As such, there was no need for an additional local pooler,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “As we have in the past — including the multiple occasions on which the Herald has supplied local pool reporters — we will continue to consider the Herald for local pool duty for future visits.”
The Boston Herald claims that the White House is engaging in “a troubling pattern of heavy-handed dealings with the press.”
“It’s always troubling when you have the administration deciding what’s fair in the media or what is unfair because that clearly does create a situation where they are trying to select the coverage that they’re going to receive,” said Boston University College of Communication dean Tom Fiedler, who covered the White House as a reporter for the Miami Herald.
The Boston Herald first reported the story on Wednesday. In that report, journalist Hillary Chabot reminds readers that the Obama White House has a “history of controversial clashes with the press.”
In April 2010, Bloomberg’s Ed Chen, president of the White House Correspondent’s Association, met with then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to hash out complaints about limitations on the press, saying, “In my 10-plus years at the White House, rarely have I sensed such a level of anger … over White House practices and attitudes toward the press.”
Last month, a San Francisco Chronicle editor reported the White House threatened to bar Hearst reporters from pool duty after a Chronicle reporter shot video of protestors mocking Obama at a fund-raiser.
Remember Obama’s calls for transparency, civility, and openness? Does that only apply to conservatives and the Republicans he faces in Washington? Time and time again, we see that the this administration takes heavy-handedness to a new level.
Obama is not King of America (as much as he’d like to be). He is someone who has learned his craft through the influence of socialists and America-haters. It’s time to send him and his political machine back to Chicago.