Politics & Policy

Clinton Campaign Shuts Out Reporters in NH

Clinton during an earlier stop in New Hampshire in May. (Darren McCollester/Getty)

Another day, another acrimonious interaction between the Clinton campaign and the press.

On Monday, as Hillary Clinton swung through New Hampshire, her staffers denied the designated print-pool reporter for the day, a man whose coverage has proven bothersome to the Clinton campaign, access to a breakfast event in Manchester. They then turned away journalists from a community meeting in Rochester, telling them to consult the pool report instead.

Pool reporters are responsible for providing coverage of campaign events that the rest of the press-corps can rely on if they are unable to attend. On Monday, David Martosko, the U.S. political editor for the Daily Mail, drove up to a Manchester restaurant to cover Clinton’s early-morning breakfast meeting there, on the understanding that he was the designated print-pool reporter for the day’s events. He was met by Meredith Thatcher, a press staffer with “Hillary for New Hampshire,” who told him that wasn’t the case.

“Thatcher told your pooler that he wasn’t the approved print-pool reporter for today’s events,” Martosko reported, according to Politico.

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Martosko asked Thatcher to call her boss, Harrell Kirstein. She did so, then said, “I’m afraid it’s a no. You’re not on the list.” She refused to let him take his seat in one of the pool vans. “All I know is what Harrell has told me. I got an e-mail saying the print-pooler would be changed for today. Sorry.”

The Daily Mail editor has proven a thorn in the Clinton campaign’s side, asking uncomfortable questions about the Benghazi attack during her last trip to New Hampshire and disparaging the favorable coverage of Hillary’s campaign relaunch this past Saturday.

Martosko’s abrupt dismissal left Hillary’s tour through New Hampshire without a print-pooler, at least temporarily. But at her next stop, a meeting on childhood education at a Rochester YMCA, Clinton staffers tried to deny some reporters access to the event, saying they should consult the pool report instead.

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A Hillary staffer asked two reporters which media outlets they worked for. After answering, the staffer informed the reporters there was not enough space to accommodate them and that they should proceed to the next campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire.

“You won’t be interested in this,” the staffer said. “You’ll have to rely on the pool.”

#related#The staffer became visibly upset when the reporters said they had also registered to attend the event as private citizens. “I’d really prefer you don’t come in here,” he said, as they moved towards the registration table. “You’re better off in Concord,” he said, warning the reporters that the drive between the two venues would take too long.

“We want a happy press corps as much as the press corps does,” Clinton press secretary Nick Merrill told Politico following Martosko’s dismissal. “And we work very hard to achieve that in tandem with them. It’s a long campaign, and we are going to do our best to find equilibrium and accommodate interest from as many news outlets as possible, given the space limitations of our events.”

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Martosko says he eventually made it to the YMCA in Rochester, but was again denied access to the event. “Secret Service agent won’t let me into the YMCA to go to the bathroom, says ‘Hit the woods,’” he tweeted.

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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