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White House Tries to Shut Boston Herald Out of Press Pool

Just another example of the Obama administration's extensive history of imposing egregious limitations on the press.

12:30 PM, May 18, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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More anti-media thuggery from the Obama White House:

The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.”

“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.

As you might recall, the White House tried to shut Fox News out of a press pool in October of 2009 on the grounds they were not a "fair" media outlet. When that happened, other media outlets stood up for Fox's right to participate in the pool. The president went 308 days without holding a press conference from July 2009 to May 2010. He famously held an event to sign the Press Freedom Act, then refused to take any questions from members of the press.

But the coup de grâce, may have been how the administration handled the press during the BP oil spill last year:

Media outlets such as The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, and NPR have written damning reports of the government's unreasonable attempts to limit access to the spill. The New Orleans Times-Picayune was prohibited from flying a plane over the spill so a photographer could get pictures. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., was denied permission to take a boat out to the spill with reporters and examine the catastrophe affecting his state. The Associated Press sent a letter of protest with the White House over the arbitrary restrictions. A CBS camera crew was threatened with arrest for trying to report from a beach affected by the spill.

The Herald further notes that the press has been exasperated with the White House for some time:

In April 2010, Bloomberg’s Ed Chen, president of the White House Correspondent’s Association, met with then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to hash out complaints about limitations on the press, saying, “In my 10-plus years at the White House, rarely have I sensed such a level of anger ... over White House practices and attitudes toward the press.”

Despite showing nothing but contempt for the press and unfairly limiting the access of nearly all publications -- even those that are editorially favorable to the Obama administration -- the White House still thinks they are in a position to determine who in the media is "fair."

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