One of the hallmarks of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Nazi Revolution (because, although the ballot was used in 1932, it was a revolution), the Hussein Iraq takeover (which was also a form of revolution), and other totalitarian takeovers is that the paranoid leadership style inherent in totalitarianism invariably means that the revolution starts to eat its own. At a certain point, the person or cabal that scrabbles to power starts fearing the people who created that leadership position, and sets out to destroy them.
Sadie alerted me to the fact that the Obama Administration, which has worked a sea change in government, is beginning to turn against the journalists that put it there. The story I’m thinking of today is that of Carla Marinucci, a San Francisco Chronicle political reporter. Both she and the newspaper have been in Obama’s corner from the beginning, and are consistently hostile to (and often, at least through omission) dishonest about Obama’s opponents, both at high political levels and at the grass roots level.
Mere sycophancy, however, isn’t good enough for the new regime. Keeping in mind the dictum that “I made you and I can break you,” the regime is doing a bit of purging:
The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights.
White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.
The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci – who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times – pulled out a small video camera last week and shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.
She was part of a “print pool” – a limited number of journalists at an event who represent their bigger hoard colleagues – which White House press officials still refer to quaintly as “pen and pad” reporting.
But that’s a pretty Flintstones concept of journalism for an administration that presents itself as the Jetsons. Video is every bit a part of any journalist’s tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn’t leak through your pocket.
The President and his staffers deftly used social media like Twitter and Facebook in his election campaign and continue to extol the virtues and value. Except, apparently, when it comes to the press.
So what’s up with the White House? We can’t say because neither Press Secretary Jay Carney nor anyone from his staff would speak on the record.
Other sources confirmed that Carla was vanquished, including Chronicle editor Ward Bushee, who said he was “informed that Carla was removed as a pool reporter.” Which shouldn’t be a secret in any case because it’s a fact that affects the newsgathering of our largest regional paper (and sfgate)and how local citizens get their information.
What’s worse: more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla’s spanking became public. Really? That’s a heavy hand usually reserved for places other than the land of the free.
The folks at the Chronicle are very surprised. I’m not. I saw this coming a long time ago and suspect (although I’m too lazy to check right now) that I blogged on precisely this same point at some time in the past.
Cross-posted at Bookworm Room