Media not invited

 

By Erik Wemple

We’ve been here before: Hillary Rodham Clinton lands in a major U.S. city for a speech. Her team bars reporters from the speech. Local media document the stiff-arm from Clinton Inc.

It happened in Miami. It happened in Atlanta. Now, it’s about to happen in San Francisco, according to the Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci.

The former secretary of state will speak Saturday at a mammoth event for the National Association of Realtors at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Later that day, Clinton is scheduled to appear at a “Millennial Network” event to benefit the Clinton Foundation at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, Marinucci blogged Monday. Both events will be closed to the press.

Clinton is known to adore challenges: She took on the country’s health-care crisis. She took on the Senate. She took on Barack Obama. She took on the frayed foreign relations of the United States.

Now she is taking on the laws of informational gravity. According to Marinucci, the Realtors’ convention is drawing 22,000 people to San Francisco. Nobody knows how many of those folks will gather for her keynote address, but the former senator has reason to believe that she can keep a lid on things. After all, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had to scramble to piece together her recent address in that city after a similar media blackout. The paper conceded that reports from the session were “hearsay,” a characterization that doubtless pleased Team Clinton.

Exactly what is behind these blackouts is a bit tough to pin down. After the media clampdown in Miami, a conference official told the Erik Wemple Blog that the off-the-record rules came at the behest of the agency that represents Clinton as a public speaker. That makes sense, considering that speakers’ agencies don’t want audiences to know if one of their clients is recycling the same speech in city after city. Of course, it’s hard to tell if that is what’s going on, given that the media aren’t getting any information.

This scorn for openness is just fine for a Beltway “former” — someone with no plans to serve in elective office. Before she left the State Department this year, Clinton expressed longing for a break from the rigors of public office, but this is ridiculous.

© 2013, The Washington Post washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple

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