The White House has booted the Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci from the approved pool of journalists who cover presidential visits to the Bay Area because she used a small video camera to record protesters who disrupted an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel, the Chron’s Phil Bronstein says in his column.
Bronstein chides the administration for thinking that print reporters shouldn’t have video cameras with them. “Video is every bit a part of any journalist’s tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn’t leak through your pocket,” he writes.
Another theory is that the video of the protest was an embarrassment to the president, and this White House is responding like other presidents have in the past.
Bronstein added, “more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla’s spanking became public. Really? That’s a heavy hand usually reserved for places other than the land of the free.”
He suggested other members of the White House press pool lack bravery. “They live a little bit in a gilded cage where they have access to the most powerful man in the world but must obey the rules whether they make sense or not.”
UPDATE, 8 A.M. FRIDAY: A Chronicle news report on the White House ban by Carolyn Lochhead says that Marinucci was in a “print-only” pool, and because she recorded a video, she violated the White House’s rules.
Marinucci said she was one of several attendees, including protesters, who recorded the demonstration. “She said she felt professionally obliged to use the same tools that private citizens were using to report on it,” Lochhead’s story said.