The most transparent administration in history was at it again Monday, this time in Hudson, Wis., where First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance to stump on behalf of Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.
For veteran reporter Meg Kissinger, who was dispatched to cover Obama’s speech, the day started off routinely enough. That was until aides for both the first lady and Burke told her she was banned from talking to members of the crowd attending the event.
Kissinger was shocked and appalled. On her Facebook page, she wrote:
To say that I was creeped out is an understatement. This is what reporters do in America: we speak to people. At least that’s how I’ve been doing things — at all kinds of political events — since 1979.
She also took to Twitter:
Reporters told not to talk to the crowd. Really?#michelleinmilwaukee
— megkissinger1 (@megkissinger1) September 29, 2014
She even included a mention of the bizarre proscription in her article at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Burke and White House staff also told reporters not to talk to people in the crowd before the event.
As administration bans on the media go, Kissinger got off easy. In 2011 the White House banished San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci from covering future presidential visits to the Bay Area after she used a multimedia capture device to record a taunt by disenchanted supporters at a fund-raiser. The explanation given by the administration at the time was that Marinucci was part of the “print pool” and was violating protocol by using electronic recording equipment.
More recently, the administration threatened press veteran Bob Woodward and spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen.