Reports have emerged over efforts by the Obama administration to chastise the San Francisco Chronicle, and in particular its reporter, Carla Marinucci, for reporting on a protest staged during an Obama fundraiser in support of incarcerated whistleblower, Bradley Manning.
Marinucci was present during the San Francisco fundraiser on April 21st when several Obama supporters stood to address the president with a protest song written specially for such occasions.
Along with other attendees at the event, the SF Chronicle reporter used her video-capable phone to record the event. She later posted the video in her report on the episode.
This action, by staunch supporters of the president, all of whom payed at least the minimum of $5000 to attend the event, was a stark indicator of how the administration’s inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning is beginning to alienate the president’s base, as he faces into his reelection campaign.
Marinucci’s footage was not the only footage that made it online. It was apparently, however, the only footage released by an official news outlet. The SF Chronicle was present at the event as part of the “print pool” - a common arrangement used by the White House when the full press corps is not able to attend. The conditions for this arrangement are that reports on the event remain textual, and that the report is submitted to the White House for redistribution to reporters who were not able to attend.
These conditions are now being used as a pretext to exclude Carla Marinucci from the ‘print pool’ for further events in the Bay Area. This is a clear demonstration of how authorities exert control over the media through the use of soft power - under the threat of removal of access and privileges when journalists start doing journalism.
Besides encroaching on the freedom of the press to report on matters of high public interest embarrassing to the president, the move would appear to be redundant, since Marinucci was not the only party to the event who recorded footage, nor was she the only person to post that video on the internet.