Tags: Michelle Obama | speech | comments | report

Reporter: WH Said Don't Interview Crowd at First Lady's Speech

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 07:07 PM

A "creeped out" Wisconsin journalist complains she was told by aides of Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and the White House to refrain from gathering comments from a crowd assembled to hear first lady Michelle Obama speak.

Veteran Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Kissinger described the warning — which she ignored —  on both her Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday, when she was covering the first lady's stump speech for Burke.

"[A]ssigned to cover Michelle Obama's speech today and was told by a Mary Burke aide and one for the White House that I could not speak to the people in the crowd," she said in a Facebook post.

"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 tweeted:


In her report for her own newspaper, Kissinger wrote that "several people in the crowd asked if they could have extra chairs reserved for the media — but reporters were initially forbidden from handing them over. Eventually, some of the Burke staff gave the extra chairs to attendees. Burke and White House staff also told reporters not to talk to people in the crowd before the event."

Kissinger's account is the latest in charges by the media of a guarded White House. Last July, more than 40 news organizations urged President Barack Obama and other federal officials to be more transparent. The groups included the Society of Professional Journalists, the Poynter Institute and the National Press Foundation.

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A "creeped out" Wisconsin journalist complains she was told by aides of Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and the White House to refrain from gathering comments from a crowd assembled to hear first lady Michelle Obama speak.
Michelle Obama, speech, comments, report
280
2014-07-30
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 07:07 PM
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