Restricting media from fully covering newsworthy, front-page happenings --- especially with the government involved --- always has been a strong no-no, reminds Grumpy Editor.
Thus, it was interesting to see media back off when Health and Human Services (HHS) officials threw up a barrier to on-scene coverage of border-crossing illegal minors being housed at Fort Sill, Okla. It is the same federal facility that on July 1 thwarted entrance by Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), the congressman who represents the area.
HHS later invited the media, but issued seven rules that would make any grizzly, grumpy editor pound on his desk, utter some nasty words and call for immediate action from Washington…or else.
The unusual restrictions to visiting media as spelled out by HHS “in order to protect the safety and privacy of the children” call for:
“■ No recording devices will be allowed.
■ No questions will be allowed during the tour.
■ No interacting with staff and children at the shelter.
■ We ask that your questions be provided via email or phone after the tour to Kenneth Wolfe.
■ HHS ACF (Administration for Children and Families) public affairs will provide answers to your follow up questions as quickly as possible.
■ We will provide photos of the facility after the tour.
■ There will be no on-site interviews by HHS staff before or after the tour, all inquiries go to Kenneth Wolfe.”
“This is not transparent,” declared Bridenstine. “HHS is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the administration’s failure to enforce the law.”
Meanwhile, along with other restrictions imposed by the Obama administration on coverage of the young illegals making their way around the country, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell said in a Fox News interview:
"This is an administration that is becoming unglued...reacting with panic the way the Chicago machine reacts where they're just trying to ram down the throats of the public the rules as they see fit," adding "they are breaking the Constitution at every level. This seems to be the First Amendment that's threatened by these people."
Bozell added the press is taking it lying down rather than telling "the Obama administration to go fly a kite."
But grumbling among journalists is nearing a crescendo.
Last week, 38 journalism groups, led by the Society of Professional Journalists and including the American Society of Journalists and Authors, American Society of News Editors, National Federation of Press Women and National Press Photographers Association, sent a letter to the White House assailing the president’s team for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials and overall “politically-driven suppression of the news” despite the president’s 2008 campaign pledge to provide transparency.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE...
One phrase for sure you will not hear or read today through mid-week: global warming. That’s because a cool jet stream will be sending Midwest temperatures as much as 20 degrees below normal…Fortune magazine last week launched (without blushing over the title) a daily online newsletter highlighting news on the world’s most powerful women. Its name? The Broadsheet…Steve Roberts, who lives in The Oaks apartments, Santee, Calif., and whose father served for more than 25 years in the military, was told he could not display the American flag inside his apartment window --- and management will not tell him why…Nineteen veteran journalists, with 586 years of combined experience, are departing the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, on Friday, leaving the newsroom with about 230 staffers…Observed on the CNBC website before the stock market opening bell last Monday: “U.S. stocks begin lower in pullback from record” previous day…University of Georgia researchers tally total enrollment in the nation’s journalism schools has dropped, noting the biggest decline --- 33 percent in five years --- at Columbia College Chicago which specializes in arts and media disciplines, with nearly 12,000 students pursuing degrees…The New York Times goes to great lengths to report from the West Coast on “Saving Water in California,” pointing out “the state needs much stronger conservation measures if it wants to battle its worst drought in decades and not to face severe water shortages.”
Declared President Barack Obama --- one day after he was photographed shooting pool in Texas --- in connection with the (nixed) suggestion of viewing first hand the massive influx of illegals at the Texas-Mexico border: “I am not interested in photo ops.”