Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No, the White House didn't shut down DADT protest

This is depressing. Politico throws up an incendiary post yesterday implying the White House shut down a DADT protest and chased reporters from the scene. The problem is the White House had nothing to do with it, which the Politico added as an update once they bothered to get a statement from the Park Police. They didn't note the update in the headline and numerous blogs and media websites still feature posts with the incorrect insinuation that ran for hours uncorrected on the Politico site.

Politico also stated, "People who have covered the White House for years tell me that's an extremely unusual thing to do in an area that regularly features protests." Well, maybe they should have asked someone who has been protesting in the park every day for 27 years. Doubtin' Thomas recently died, but his co-protester "Concepcion Picciotto, continues to hold vigil in Lafayette Park [24/7] with photos of victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings." Thomas's diary notes numerous occassions when the park was arbritrarily closed during protests during decades past.

In 1990 demonstrators protestind Iraq sanctions were arrested for attaching signs to the White House fence, "violating a ban on such stationary protests." Just a month ago, Cindy Sheehan and others were arrested there and the sidewalk was closed when they attempted to paint on it with mud. It would appear that shutting the park is SOP when the fence or sidewalk is "breached."

The only one I saw exercising due diligence on this story was Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. Unlike Ben Smith, he called the Secret Service and confirmed they had nothing to do with it, before he posted his piece. It appears this was nothing more than an over-zealous park cop enforcing existing regs.

In any event, the press wasn't kept out for all that long. Mark Knoller prevailed on one of the cops to call his superior officer and clarify the reason for keeping the WHPC at bay and they were allowed back to the fenceline shortly thereafter.

Personally, I think the most telling part of the Politico video is the reporter who can be seen "calling the move 'outrageous' and 'ridiculous.'" He also said something along of the lines of, sure it's okay to move the civilians out, but we're the White House press corps and deserve special treatment. You think leaping to blame the White House has nothing to do with the fact they're pissed off Obama isn't giving them exclusive access to his every move? I think it has everything to do with it.

Related: Wonkette discovers a hilarious one paragraph summary of Politico's win the morning technique.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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