People assume that Republican politicians hate the media, but at least they don’t shut them out of events like leading Democrats do. Last week, President Barack Obama had a ceremony at the White House to receive an award from an association of black journalists — and locked the national media out of the event. Gearlog now notes that Al Gore, who stumps the world for global-warming policy changes and to educate people on the Coming Environmental Catastrophe, has decided to cut the press out of his appearances, too (via Romanesko):
In a highly ironic move, Al Gore has barred the press from even attending his speech at the upcoming CTIA Wireless 2009 conference, the nation’s largest gathering of the wireless communications industry.
The ban only applies to people with press badges. If you’re a corporate or personal blogger or Tweeter, apparently you can get in to the 4,000-seat auditorium where the speech will be held on April 3. The wireless industry group running the conference, CTIA washed their hands of the ban, saying that it’s part of Al Gore’s standard speaking contract and that there was nothing they could do about it.
That’s part of his “standard speaking contract”? Say, didn’t Gore teach a few classes at Columbia’s School of Journalism in 2001, where journalists train for their craft? In fact, he did — and imposed a gag order on them, threatening them with expulsion from his class if they spoke to the press. He did the same thing in 2007 when he appeared at South Dakota’s Augustana College.
Gearlog notes that the language on the CTIA website barring the press has disappeared:
Update, 9:30 PM ET: The phrase “VP Gore’s keynote address is closed to the press” has disappeared from the official CTIA Web site, though the speech announcement still says “Photography, recording, webcasting and any other reproduction of Vice President Al Gore’s speaking appearance is strictly prohibited.” Did their policy change? Unfortunately, it’s 9:30 at night on a Friday, so we may have to wait a few days to find out.
“Any other reproduction” would seem to indicate a ban, and the CTIA website includes a number of passes eligible for Gore’s event — but no mention of media passes.
Why ban the media as a standard part of the speaking contract? I’d like to say because Gore’s worried that they’ll call him out on his poor science and hysterical hyperbole, but we haven’t seen much evidence that they want to do that when they do cover him. For now, we’ll just chalk it up to the why-can’t-I-just-eat-my-waffle mentality that leading Democrats exhibit to their buddies in the press.