A Wisconsin reporter claims that First Lady Michelle Obama’s handlers demanded that journalists avoid speaking to any members of the audience who attended the first lady’s recent Milwaukee campaign event.
Meg Kissinger, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, took to her Facebook page this week to report the demands of the first lady’s team as she tried to cover Obama’s visit to Milwaukee to support Democrat candidate for Governor, Mary Burke.
“[A]ssigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech today,” the reporter posted, “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. To say that I was creeped out is an understatement. This is what reporters do in America: we speak to people.”
Kissinger also noted that she and her fellow reporters were cordoned off in their own section and not allowed to mix with the public who attended the event to see the first lady.
“Reporters and photographers were cordoned off in a central area with chairs and tables. Several people in the crowd asked if they could (borrow) extra chairs reserved for the media–but reporters were initially forbidden from handing them over,” the journalist wrote.
This isn’t the first time that team Obama has tried to fully control every move made by journalists. In 2011, one reporter was detained in a storage closet by Vice President Joe Biden’s staffers and prevented from reporting on a fundraiser. Several days later Biden had to apologize for the reporter’s treatment.
More ominously, in 2013, Eric Holder, Obama’s Attorney General, obtained the private phone calls of over one hundred reporters for the Associated Press as part of a secret investigation into the media. It was a breach of privacy that was roundly criticized by reporters across the country.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.