We hear stories often about the media crying because access is denied. In the courtroom, in the back room, in the smoke-filled room. If the media is banned, it will complain, and most often it is justified.
What about when the media itself denies access to one of its own?
The annual White House Corespondents Dinner is coming up in April, and the media has banned C-SPAN from broadcasting the event. No reason given, just C-SPAN cannot do what it has done in the past by providing full video of the event. Some journalists have complained about the lack of access. Imagine that.
The VP of C-SPAN, Terry Murphy, has written a letter complaining about the change in policy by the "Gridiron Club", which runs the event and also sees this as an issue separating the print and electronic media. Once the dinner has ended, print media can report on what was said, but no video will be released. In part, his letter reads:
JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ON THE LINE FOR GRIDIRON CLUB. We request that the Gridiron Executive Committee, under your leadership, takes the historic step of allowing C-SPAN to cover your 2012 dinner under the same conditions as the print press. If this request is granted, we'd agree to be the pool and share our video with other news organizations. Thank you for your consideration.
Vice President and Executive Producer
We can speculate on the reasons for the change in policy. My gut is telling me that the media's Dear Leader in the White House does not want anything embarrassing out there in an election year, and a compliant media is more than willing to acquiesce. Video of jokes about President Obama would be much more dramatic than the written word. Some of the jokes might end up in opponents' campaign commercials, and the media can't have anything that "hits home." For comedy to be funny, it has to have some accuracy, and the mainstream media can't abide that.
I was looking forward to watching the dinner. One of my favorite comedians and a personal friend, Jimmy Kimme,l is hosting the event. I'm guessing Jimmy will be funny and do a great job. Unless there is a change in policy, we'll just have to take the print media's word for it.