Reporters covering a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protest at the White House today were forced out of Lafayette Square by police. The scene, captured on video, is remarkable given the historical importance of the park as a protest spot across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
President Obama, who boasts of the most transparent administration in history, is facing increasingly angry rhetoric on the issue. But the more important matter facing the administration today involves freedom of the press. Why would Secret Service officers, charged with protecting the White House, order credentialed journalists to leave the scene of a public protest?
The incident should raise red flags with Obama and the reporters who cover him. It’s unacceptable for journalists to be chased away from a public venue under the guise of preventing negative publicity for the White House. Had this happened under President George W. Bush, the outcry from the Fourth Estate would be at a fever pitch.
UPDATE: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just yesterday said, “This is the most transparent administration in the history of our country.”