Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Should independent bloggers need press credentials to ask questions at open, outdoor-ish events?
I did attend a small demonstration today at the Internet-Wide Day of Action, on the north side of the Capitol, toward the Senate Office buildings (leading to Union Station) in Washington DC.
I’ve covered the speeches elsewhere (see my Network Neutrality Blog from my profile). But there was a small problem at the end.
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), who was leading the event, called for questions from the audience, which was small. True, he did ask for organizational or press affiliation. One woman asked a question (from Politico, I think). Then I raised my hand. When he called on me and I said I was “independent” he cut me off, and said something like “press only”. I guess I could have said “doaskdotell.com” and gotten away with it.
I do understand that you need official press credentials to attend some events, like Trump’s notorious White House press briefings. There’s only so much room inside, and there is security. But this was outdoors (in the heat) and a small gathering, maybe 50 people in the audience. There was no barrage of questions, as at a movie screening. If Markey’s (and other left wing speakers) point is to allow the “little guys” to have the floor (and that is partly what the network neutrality debate could come down to), then he is contradicting his own beliefs with his own actions. The Left is even more jealous of its own establishment than the Right.
Okay, maybe he feared I was an alt-right or Breitbart-ish provocateur, like a “Milo II”. I was wearing a Washington Nationals baseball cap, the day after the All Star Game. Maybe big league sports is “right wing”, but MLB has been quite emphatic about ending discrimination in all policies regarding players, including gay players and employees (or that is the libertarian position, too). Actually, all I was going to say was that I had noticed some slowdowns that morning, on Facebook and the Washington Blade.
When I got home and opened my email (Okay, I can see it on my smartphone) I saw a whiney email from FTFF which read “we just checked our records and you haven’t spoken out on this yet”. Well, I have a lot, on blogs and social media. And I attended their event and tried to ask a question of a leading Democratic Senator. But I just haven’t spoken through “them” or let “them” be my mouthpiece. How rude! (Truthout does this a lot.)