File this one under “things I really didn’t expect to see,” especially from a media outlet in Nancy Pelosi’s deep blue district:
In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.
Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib:
Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.
The Chronicle’s report is accurate.
If the White House has indeed decided not to ban our reporter, we would like an on-the-record notice that she will remain the San Francisco print pool reporter.
I was on some of those calls and can confirm Ward’s statement.
Messy ball now firmly in White House court.
One gets the sense that the Obama White House just expected the Chron’s management to meekly go along with disciplining one of their reporters for doing what is basically her job. Of course, of late, reporters haven’t really been doing their job, just taking the talking points and regurgitating them, but that doesn’t mean that some reporter with higher standards can’t actually do some real reporting for a change. One did, and it seems that His Obamaness is not amused, so he’s responding in the Chicago Way.
Kudos to the Chron for fighting back! You’ve earned a little bit of my respect with that one.