July 29, 2012

AP’s Kasie Hunt: A Hotel Is ‘Communal’ Space; Also Makes Obama Appear Open to the Press

In the kerfuffle over the initial refusal by Mitt Romney’s campaign to allow reporters into a fundraising event to take place at an Israeli hotel on Monday, a position the campaign reversed late yesterday (early morning in Israel), the Associated Press’s Kasie Hunt had, to say the least, an interesting take on property rights, while clearly misstating how the Obama campaign has handled press access.

Here are the first two paragraphs of her report as it existed 20 hours ago, as carried currently at Townhall:

U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to raise campaign money in private while in Israel, so what he tells wealthy American supporters abroad will be kept quiet from voters at home.

Romney’s campaign is barring reporters from a fundraiser at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel and not saying why. At U.S. events, Romney’s remarks to donors in communal spaces such as hotels are typically public.

President Barack Obama allows reporters to hear his words at fundraisers, though he generally bars them from listening to question-and-answer sessions with those in attendance. The president sometimes allows coverage of his remarks at events in private homes.

The closest relevant dictionary definitions I could find for “communal” were:

  • “used or shared in common by everyone in a group”;
  • “of, by, or belonging to the people of a community; shared or participated in by the public.”

A hotel fits neither definition, and certainly isn’t “communal” space.

As to her attempt to draw some kind of equivalence between Barack Obama’s alleged openness and the supposedly restrictive Romney, a Google  News search on [Obama "closed to reporters"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returned several examples of the President conducting fundraising events in hotels which were “closed to reporters.” Here are two, both courtesy of … uh … uh … the Associated Press (graphics of full items saved here and here for embarrassment, fair use and discussion purposes):

July 9 (“Romney’s Team Outraises Obama And Democrats Again”)

… The president sought to increase his fundraising haul Monday afternoon with two intimate campaign fundraisers at a Washington hotel.

Tickets cost $40,000 per person, with 20 attendees at each event. The fundraisers were closed to reporters.

July 18 (“Obama holds DC fundraiser for re-election campaign”)

President Barack Obama is raising about $1.5 million at a Washington fundraiser to benefit his re-election campaign.

Obama met with 25 supporters at the upscale Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Wednesday, a day after several fundraisers in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Tickets for the event started at $60,000 per person.
The fundraiser was closed to reporters.

It would also be worth knowing if Hunt’s reference to how Obama “allows reporters to hear his words” is a clever way to shield the fact that they aren’t allowed in the room with him and his supporters.

Seriously, Kasie, what in the name of double standards is going on here?

Maybe, invoking Whoopi Goldberg in a more odious instance, Obama’s events aren’t considered “fundraiser-fundraisers” by the Administration’s Press.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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