More bad press coming for the Coleman campaign

In the last several minutes, Norm Coleman’s campaign has denied access to Minnesota Independent and The Uptake, two local journalism organizations hoping to cover the senator’s much-anticipated 10:15 press conference.

When last seen, The Uptake was the only organization in the state providing a live video feed of the first U.S. Senate debate last Sunday. It has also dutifully provided full, live, unedited video of Minnesota congressional debates.

While the Uptake and Minnesota Independent are undeniably left-favoring organizations, they are members of the Society of Professional Journalists and subscribe to its ethics code.

As you can see from the videos below, Coleman staffers would not give any objective reason for blocking Minnesota Independent managing editor Paul Schmelzer:

Uptake videographer Chuck Olsen describes his exclusion here:

A DFL Party video-tracker — who produced the extremely embarrassing video of Coleman spokesperson Cullen Sheehan stonewalling on the “Suitgate” issue two days ago — was also barred.

The exclusion of a non-journalist tracker from a press conference — while petty — doesn’t rise to the “what have you got to hide?” level of excluding press from a press conference.

As with the debate, the Uptake would have provided the only live, unedited broadcast of the Coleman conference — an undeniable public service.

The Uptake notes it has been credentialed for John McCain campaign events and Olsen has attended Coleman press conferences before. The Uptake and Minnesota Independent were both refused credentials for the Republican National Convention, but earned major media recognition for the video and demonstration stories they produced.

A question we’ll all digest in the coming hours is: who should be allowed to a candidate’ press conference? If you’re partisan or ideological in any way while still upholding journalistic principles, should you be excluded?

Thought experiment for DFL partisans: how would you feel if a right-wing blogger showed up with camera in tow and started asking Al Franken toughies? Thoughts and exclusion examples welcome in the comments section.

Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 10/10/2008 - 11:04 am.

    Regarding: “Thought experiment for DFL partisans: how would you feel if a right-wing blogger showed up with camera in tow and started asking Al Franken toughies? Thoughts and exclusion examples welcome in the comments section.”

    Don’t they already do that?

  2. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/10/2008 - 11:20 am.

    Exclusion?

    Exclusion?

    Uh, David, your people have “excluded” any real examination of Obama’s family, or his (lack of) credentials to be Commander in Chief.

    Comparatively, these radicals being shut out of Norm’s press conference is hardly an “issue”.

  3. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/10/2008 - 11:29 am.

    Aaron – Do Republican- or conservative-leaning partisans ask questions at press conferences? That’s what I’m looking for. I know trackers generally get in.

    BD – You’re right; Obama has hardly been vetted over the past 20 months. But while there are more important issues in the democracy, press access is a fundamental to covering these guys. Should the Washington Times or Examiner.com be excluded from Obama news conferences? Imagine the outrage on the rightblogosphere.

    These standards questions are important for the public and all sides going forward. Don’t look at them too tendentiously.

  4. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 10/10/2008 - 11:29 am.

    David- Regarding your comment #3:

    http://the-uptake.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/387/

  5. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 10/10/2008 - 12:05 pm.

    I’ve tried to ask tough, but respectful, questions at GOP pressers; I’ve been ignored by Ron Carey, Mark Drake, and Cullen Sheehan at various pressers.

    While I think the DFL should be open to tough, but respectful, questions from rightwing bloggers, I won’t be surprised when their access is denied.

    After all, the precedent has been set.

    This said, refusal to allow the Minnesota Independent and The Uptake is abhorrent.

    It also is not surprising.

  6. Submitted by Paul Saarinen on 10/10/2008 - 12:13 pm.

    I have a lot of respect for Paul at MNindy, Aaron, Chuck, and Noah (theuptake)…ok, even you David.

    I would really like to see both parties be more open to CJ’s.

    I’d also like to see some balance within the CJ’s reporting. Sometimes it seems all they’re doing is preaching to the choir, and rallying the base, but shouldn’t discredit their stories.

  7. Submitted by Ed Nelson on 10/10/2008 - 12:39 pm.

    Norm Coleman is an Empty Suit

    Wow first Norm Coleman votes to bailout his Wall Street buddies, then we find out he is getting free $1000.00 Neiman Marcus suits from investment executive Nasser Kazeminy, and now its campaign contributions from the fraudster Tom Petters.

    Al Franken didn’t get one penny from Petters and he was against the bailout. At least we have one choice for a politican who will fight for Minnesotans.

  8. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 10/11/2008 - 12:55 am.

    Good question, how would DFLers feel about right wing media showing up. Actually we tolerate Fox News all the time.

  9. Submitted by Mike Fratto on 10/11/2008 - 07:54 am.

    Interesting comments so far. Mostly political.

    I think that if someone is holding a press conference, advisory or what ever they want to call it, they should be obligated to allow all credentialed journalists, Barring anyone for reasons of political bias seems to change the event from a conference to promotion event.

    Unfortunately, we have seen the administration bar the public from publicly paid for appearances and main stream reporters from their press conferences. This tells me they want to control the press. Fortunately, we have a constitution that guarantees freedom of the Press.

    Maybe its time mainstream reporters and media outlets agree not to cover events, Press Conferences, etc. if any credentialed reporter is barred.

  10. Submitted by Tom Poe on 10/11/2008 - 05:13 pm.

    “The exclusion of a non-journalist tracker from a press conference — while petty — doesn’t rise to the “what have you got to hide?” level of excluding press from a press conference.”

    Citizen journalism thrives on the Internet. Filtering is quite effective. So, what’s this statement trying to accomplish? Judith Miller is OK, but citizen journalists are not? How absurd!

    Now, as for an elected official censoring what his constituents need to know is obscene. Easier to understand at this point, as September 19, 2008, his RNC admitted they are the Party of Corporate Welfare. America does not tolerate corporate welfare. It’s probably embarrassing to have his constituents informed that he is a member of the Party of Corporate Welfare.

  11. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/11/2008 - 06:28 pm.

    Tom –

    What I’m trying to say is that excluding a DFL Party tracker or a GOP party tracker, while petty, isn’t a sin. Excluding legit journalists, even if they aren’t ideologically predisposed your way, is.

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