It sounds like a scene from North Korea. A NY Times reporter recounts her visit to the Clinton Global Initiative conference where she was assigned a minder who even followed her into the ladies room.
Amy Chozick, who covers the Clintons for the NY Times writes, “for me, perhaps the person who stands out is the friendly 20-something
press aide who the Clinton Global Initiative tasked with escorting me to
the restroom. She waited outside the stall in the ladies’ room at the
Sheraton Hotel, where the conference is held each year.” Chozick adds that for reporters at CGI, “an escort is required wherever we go.”
When Chozick asks a CGI spokesman about the necessity of a minder in the bathroom she is offered a press release on the American Standard Flush for Good campaign (yes, that’s a real thing). “Since you are so interested in bathrooms and C.G.I,” the spokesman said to her. Maybe this was meant to be humorous but it comes across as condescending and dismissive.
Apparently the minders at CGI are something new. Chozick says that security was always heavy given the guest list at these events but adds that until last year, “reporters could roam relatively freely.” What changed was the possibility that Hillary might be running for President.
This is not Chozick’s first run in with Hillary. Back in June the Free Beacon reported that Chozick and her bureau chief Carolyn Ryan had a sit down with Hillary aides Huma Abedin and Philippe Reines. The purpose of the meeting was, reportedly, a chance for Hillary’s camp to complain about what it considered unfavorable coverage by the Times. Apparently that meeting didn’t help.
Kudos to Amy Chozick who, despite being given a talking to and now a
bathroom minder by the Clinton camp, does not seem content to trade favorable
coverage for access. If Hillary enters the 2016 race as expected, the bathroom minder incident could become an important metaphor for her ongoing relationship to the media.