Herald Spits At White House

I've been trying to understand what exactly the Herald is complaining about today, but whatever it is or isn't, it's now circulating everywhere in the conservative media as an Obama outrage. I like and respect Hillary Chabot, and I'm always keen on hitting the White House for its disdain for the media, but I don't see any there there on this one. Here's how I read it:

The Herald seems to have discovered that they only had regular press access to Obama's Boston fundraiser, and asked for more. They were told that the pool-coverage parts of the event had already been assigned out by the White House Correspondents Association -- it will be the Globe's Donovan Slack, who is also travelling with the President all day (including flying on Air Force 1 not that I'm WICKED JEALOUS or anything). 

Pool coverage, for those who don't know, is when it's not practical to let the whole press come along somewhere, so one or more reporters are picked to represent them all -- they file "pool reports" that go to the rest of the media.

According to the Herald's own story, the White House spokesperson said that the Herald was not deliberately excluded from being picked for the pool. Also, he noted that the Herald has been picked for the pool before, and would be in the future.

As an aside, pool reporters aren't allowed to keep anything to themselves exclusively -- they are serving as the eyes and ears of the media who they are representing. So it's not like the Herald is missing out on a chance for a scoop.

So I don't see how the Herald has been denied anything. There is, however, an email exchange with a White House spokesperson, that comes across as pretty ham-handed. But any implication about denying the Herald access for bias seems at odds with what the spokesperson was saying about what was actually going on (and his non-role in it anyway) -- so, not seeing the entire back-and-forth, and seeing how ginned-up this whole story seems, I have to reserve judgment on that whole side of the story.

I would make one point about that spokesperson's comments about bias, however: it is pretty self-evident that the media who rely on pool reporting want reliably unbiased reporters picked for that duty -- I don't know how the assigning process works, but if there's one place you WOULD want to exclude an obviously biased journalist, it would be from that duty. Of course, Chabot certainly should not be on any such list of exclusions, if there is one.

And as far as I can tell, she and the Herald have not been denied anything by anybody -- which did not prevent them from splaying their victimization on the front page.

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