White House Punishes Pool Reporter For Posting Video Of Bradley Manning Supporters Protesting Obama

from the sad dept

This is just sad. For a president who claimed that he was going to bring a new era of transparency and openness to the White House, every day it seems like President Obama is actually closing off more avenues of communication and being less transparent than any president in history. The latest is an attempt to punish a San Francisco Chronicle reporter for daring to use a mobile phone to record some video of Bradley Manning supporters singing a song in protest when the President was visiting San Francisco. Apparently, the White House didn’t like that a “pen and pad” reporter had recorded video and have said that this reporter and paper will be excluded from future events.

They won’t give a clear explanation of why, but the implication is that because she went beyond “pen and pad” with the video, she violated some sort of guideline, though the SF Chronicle says no guidelines were violated:

The White House Press Correspondents’ Association pool reporting guidelines warn about “no hoarding” of information and also say, “pool reports must be filed before any online story or blog.” While uploading her video probably was the best way to file her report, Carla may have technically busted the letter of that law.

But the guidelines also 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.”

No matter what, the clear implication is that the administration doesn’t like it when reporters show stuff that embarrasses them. For a “transparent” president, and one who claims to have embraced various aspects of social media (as the report notes, this protest happened hours after Obama spent some time at Facebook…), it seems incredibly hypocritical to punish a reporter for embracing new technology and new tools to report on a story.

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Comments on “White House Punishes Pool Reporter For Posting Video Of Bradley Manning Supporters Protesting Obama”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So… your solution is to put your head in the sand and pretend it’ll go away?

If you’re active in politics, you can get people interested in what you consider to be a sane viable choice and maybe help convince an as-yet unannounced 3rd party to run. If you don’t vote and hope it goes away, one of those people you refuse to vote for will become president and it’ll take longer for your preferred people to get anywhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That line of thinking is idealistic at best. Point is, I want to vote for some other democrat. That isn’t going to happen bar a miracle. I’m in no way pretending that the problem will go away, rather I’m recognizing that we’re hosed either way, and will have no piece in this matter.

‘sides, unless you have connections or money, you can’t achieve shit politically, whether it be running or just supporting someone. I have neither, so I won’t even bother.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

Re: Re:

Do NOT refer to Nader as borderline insane. He just appears that way contrasted against all the other criminally insane parties out there.

He is the only candidate who walks the talk, and every sane reader of techdirt should have voted for him last time.

Look up his record. He is saner than all of them put together. He has a well defined set of morals and ethics, and he doesn’t CARE if he get’s elected again.

A vote for no one is a wasted vote. A vote for Nader is the smartest thing you will ever do, regardless of whether or not ‘he can win’. And you can sleep at night knowing you did the ethical thing.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I tend to agree with you for other reasons. The other reason is that it doesn’t matter which party you vote for, you get a different flavor of the same insanity.

We are up to our necks in debt as a nation. A vote for the republicans leads to more budgeted war, dismantling of the health-care system (in favor of the medical, insurance, and big pharm), more tax breaks for the rich that haven’t worked to help the economy in 2 decades, and an ever longer plunge into what seems to be fascism.

The same vote for the Dems leads to budgeted war (Libya), dismantling of the health-care system (in favor of the medical, insurance, and big pharm), more tax breaks for the rich that haven’t worked to help the economy in 2 decades, and an ever longer plunge into what seems to be fascism.

Your voting choices between parties are no choices at all. Better to vote for independent as it’s the only remaining hope of what Obama campaigned on, change. It seems the word “meaningful” wasn’t connected to the word change.

While we look at the different candidates, none of them are aimed at doing what is right for the country in the main parties. The only other alternative is independent and from my viewpoint, no crazier than what is on the main lines.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

“…there’s no way in hell I’ll vote for a Republican…”

Here’s an insane thought: how about you vote for an individual? Wow, what a concept. Pick a third party that you do agree with, and vote there. Or, what if by some chance, some completely non-traditional, anti-war, anti-corporatist, pro-civil-rights Republican happened to win the nomination? Would you still refuse to vote for him/her because of the label? Because it could actually happen, especially if enough progressives get out during the primaries to hand Ron Paul the nomination.

FUDbuster (profile) says:

less transparent than any president in history

Do you have any actual data about the relative transparency of the Presidents, or are you just going with a faith-based and one-sided FUD piece? I suspect it’s the latter. You did say “seem” after all, so you left yourself wiggle room as is your method. Wouldn’t want anyone to pin you down when you’re just making shit up.

CrushU says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You think it would be different if someone else was president?

Trump can at least run a business… He also seems to have a pretty large amount of ‘take no guff’. Pro: Budget would get closer to being balanced (that’s really congress’s domain.) Con: We might get more laws favoring corporations. (Unlike Obama, where we definitely didn’t get any new political appointments helping corporations, nor do we have any executive-branch agencies making announcements from corporate headquarters.)

Me, I’m pulling for Chthulhu. Why vote for a lesser evil?

CrushU says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

From the article you linked:
“His business was in the red, and so was he, to the tune of about $900 million in personal debt.” and “Today, we value him at $2.7 billion, although he claims he?s worth far more.”
Yeah. We totally couldn’t use someone that can change $900 million in debt to $2.7 billion surplus.

“But to those uninitiated in bankruptcy laws, four instances of corporate bankruptcy in a row can seem staggering. ?To the ordinary person in the street, it may seem surprising, but certainly not to me,? said Reed Smith partner Michael Venditto, who has represented clients in high profile Chapter 11 cases, including bankrupt airline TWA. ?Chapter 11 is how you reshape and restructure a company that has problems. It doesn?t indicate anything nefarious or even bad management.?”
… No more needing said.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

SEEM implies opinion not fact so the sentence

“every day it seems like President Obama is actually closing off more avenues of communication and being less transparent than any president in history”

its pretty clearly a statement of opinion, but if you quote just parts of it you can make it appear otherwise and argue your new meaning you nitt-picky twit.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Many people disagree on whether that is a ‘terrible thing’ as well as whether child molestation is a ‘terrible thing’ so don’t bring that up.

There is NO consensus on those things, regardless of other places trying to shut down free speech by banning people from posting who dare to buck the ‘consensus’ that really isn’t on that issue.

Anonymous Coward says:



There are tons of examples if you will only search for what you have italicized. Some that give examples of the extremes, some that claim the title, some even refer back to this article at TD.

This is not the first time I have run into this phrase being used in conjunction with Obummer’s name in internet news.

You will even find some articles on where Obummer is awarded the Transparency Award but denies even the press to be present to record the event.

mojo says:

“i say go for rich crackpot, maybe he can break the country enough that we can make some changes for the better while we put it back together, Ron Paul 2012”

Put it back together? I hope you and yours have enough smarts to understand that we were smashed apart while the rich (crackpots or otherwise) ran this country for eight, long, disastrous years.

No president (I don’t care how much you hate Obama) could possibly have done this much damage to our country in two years. I really hate to be so glib, but we slowly went down the tubes ever since 9-11; the bungled war in Iraq, the bank bailout which created the current financial meltdown – can anyone disagree?

And who was in charge ALL THAT TIME?

You can whine that Obama hasn’t managed to repair eight years worth of damage as quickly as you’d like, but I’d think long and hard before putting the people who broke things in the first place back in office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s amazing how when things go wrong and a repub is on top, it’s the president’s fault. Then when things go wrong and there’s a repub congress, it’s there fault. The worst president is one whose party has total control of government. Clinton stunk for 2 years, Bush really stunk for two years, and Obama was lousy for his first two years. And he hasn’t even begun to fix things, he hasn’t done anything of value. He’s incompetent and in way over his head. Remember he’s the president, who can get things done better. If you want to go back to previous presidents, then let’s start blaming Carter. What has Obama fixed or even started to fix? He’s spent like NO ONE else, he’s got us in another war, he didn’t get us out of the one he said, and he lied about what Obamacare would end up being.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s amazing when people think a President or a party is capable of fixing things when others are busily undermining everything they attempt to do. Then these busy bodies go on to lay blame upon the doorstep of that person/party and claim that as proof that the other party should be put in charge, because that other party will fix everything. This is beyond laughable, it is an insult to the voting public who think they have a say in what goes on in “their” country.

The Truth Beacon says:

You're just now realizing?

You’re just now realizing that Obama is a bad person and anyone who thought of voting for him is a moron?

This is his way, and the way of all like him. They pretend to be for free speech – as long as it favors them and their way. This crackpot and his far-left cronies such as those who rule California have been doing this for decades, and morons like the ‘mojo’ commenter buy into their lies and propaganda.

Anonymous Coward says:

You get what you voted for, I do not understand how any of this is surprising to the people here because they all sounded so smart going into the primaries. Anyone remember warnings of Jimmy Carter’s second term, fascism, marxism, exclusionary policies..he wrote about it, talked about it, taught it, surrounded himself with the people who talked about it and wrote about it. Everyone warned you guys this is what would happen, now he is doing EXACTLY as he said (never mind the ‘transparency’ promises) you cannot do all the things he has set out to do AND be transparent it was just a gesture to all the people who thought the previous administration who embraced the freedoms of those who disagreed with them as proof the system was good.

Live with it. Embrace it. Vote to see even more of it the second term when he has no third term to run for. Shut up and do what ‘they who are smarter than you’ tell you to do already.

Take your freedoms for granted and then watch them go up in smoke at the whim of a big company donor who promises to carry out the administration agenda in exchange for a monopoly.

Wait until they get their hands on the internet knobs in the name of fairness- Obviously, you can trust them to do what they say after all. Maybe the problem is they just aren’t quite big enough yet? We need more folks like this in charge and an even more powerful government!

Ed (profile) says:


I was never an Obama fan, not during the primaries and not during the general election. But, I simply could not support McCain/Palin in any way, so I accepted the fact that Obama became President. His actions so far have proven my suspicions of him to be correct, he is much less than honest and far more incompetent than I imagined he would be. But, he is still the President.

However, when I see posts that childishly mangle the President’s name (Obummer? Really?) and use the overly-abused “facist” and “marxist” and “socialist” tags (incorrectly, at that), I simply can not take anything that person writes or says seriously. If you cannot discuss something in an adult manner, save the discussion for adults who can.

Elder-Geek (profile) says:

Action Speak Louder Than Words

I prefer when politicians talk about what they are going to do, instead of just doing it. Bush may have been more or less open than Clinton, but whichever it was, he did not promise one thing and to another.

When politicians stand up and make a big deal about the type of decency that even a 5 year old knows how show. It worries me.

Bill Clinton promised “When I get to Washington D.C. it will not be politics as usual”, I knew it would be more “as usual” than ever.

Barack Obama promised “The most transparent administration ever”, so once again, I knew that would be a joke. Not because he was a Democrat. All politicians who make to big a deal about promising to be decent tend to fail at that point.

Anonymous Coward says:

People who generally just respond the other party would have been worse or are 1 X 10^26 worse…please supply data. I was not thrilled with the unfunded mandates of the previous administration, his patriot act, his debt, meanwhile, Mr. Obama promised to halve the deficit in his first term and make the world love us.

The fact is there were more employed, the deficit was lower, the press had the freedom to report what a moron that guy was, there were fewer wars, and now it appears gas was cheaper.

Under this dude’s ‘rule’ you cannot offend- or you may find yourself locked in a closet.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Obama and transparency

I have gone from an avid Obama supporter to a “don’t vote for that man” type over transparency.

However, I understand that the White House apologized, and Obama said “no reporters will be excluded (as in “punished”).

Am I incorrect on this? It would be good to have the complete story, if there is one, especially from a Republican (Mike?).

The Truth beacon says:

RE: RE: You're just now realizing?

@ABC – Most of the politicians on the right are just as bad or propagandist, however none would be so boldly communist as the current regime, they’re simply profiteers. While I find it distasteful on a similar level, I would personally rather be sold as a freed slave than kept as ignorant peon slave.

In response to your second statement, I could consider that possibility if this administration (not just this previous senate/congress) hadn’t been demonstrating an attitude of media control the entire time. Look at how they treated media coverage of health-care discussions – only their official information was allowed to be released. Currently we aren’t in a totalitarianism or other dictatorship, but the Obama types would be smart if they would at least be a little bit conspicuous about their desires to implement such a system. Unfortunately, those same people are stupid enough to think a communist system would benefit everyone despite history definitively proving otherwise.

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