2011-04-30 White House now denies blacklisting reporter

The White House is denying, contrary to reports, that it was seeking to blacklist the San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Carla Marinucci.

WL Central reported yesterday how the White House was seeking to punish the San Francisco news organization for reporting on a protest against the inhumane pretrial incarceration of alleged military whistleblower Bradley Manning, during a fundraiser for President Obama on the 21st of April.

It had been reported that the journalist Carla Marinucci's use of video from the event was being viewed as a transgression against the regulations covering "print-pool" invitations to White House events, and that this was to be used as the pretext for her exclusion from future events.

Now, the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has issued a statement denying that any such punishments were being issued to the press for reporting on an issue of legitimate public interest:

The San Francisco Chronicle violated the coverage rules that they -– and every other media outlet –- agreed to as part of joining the press pool for that event. If they thought the rules were too restrictive they should have raised that at the beginning. However, no reporters have been banned from covering future presidential events and the White House of course would have no problem including any reporter who follows the rules in pool-only events.

This puts the White House's version of events in direct conflict with that of the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported yesterday in three separate articles on the issue.

Furthermore, in an email to Michael Calderone published in part at the Huffington Post, SF Chronicle editor Ward Bushee suggests that Carney's public statement is misleading at best. According to Bushee, the blacklist of Carla Marinucci was initially a certainty, but the White House also attempted to suppress even this story, by threatening further retaliation and revocation of access should the Chronicle report on the ban.

Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges required by key people in the White House communications office who told us it would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.

If the San Francisco newspaper is to be trusted, it therefore transpires that not only has the White House sought to reward a diligent press by blacklisting reporters, and not only has it furthermore attempted to prevent news of this ever reaching the public by threatening a newspaper, but it is now issuing a public statement with the express intent of rewriting history.