Monday, June 15, 2015

DENIED: Clinton campaign refuses to allow reporter to cover New Hampshire event and go to the restroom

On Monday, reporter David Martosko was barred from covering a New Hampshire event for Hillary Clinton by her presidential campaign staffers. Martosko, the U.S. political editor for the U.K. based Daily Mail, has been highly critical of Hillary with some of his past coverage of the former Secretary of State.

"Your pooler showed up at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester on a rainy New Hampshire morning at 7:45 and was greeted in the parking lot by Meredith Thatcher, a press staffer with the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Thatcher told your pooler that he wasn’t the approved print pool reporter for today’s pooled events," Martosko reported in his first pool report. (Note: Thatcher is actually a press staffer for "Hillary for New Hampshire," not the state's Democratic Party.)

"Asked to call her boss, Harrell Kirstein, she did so and then reported: 'So I'm afraid it's a no. You're not on the list.' She said [campaign press secretary] Nick Merrill should be phoned with questions," Martosko continued. "Asked if the print pooler was being prohibited from getting on either of the pool vans, Thatcher replied: 'I'm afraid that's right.' Asked why, she responded: 'All I know is what Harrell has told me. I got an email saying the print pooler would be changed for today. Sorry'" Martosko said in his pool report.

The Daily Mail also released a statement confirming the incident.

“We can confirm that David Martosko, U.S. Political Editor, was today denied access to Hillary Clinton’s campaign event and was prohibited from boarding a van that the Clinton campaign is using to transport pool reporters around New Hampshire,” said a Daily Mail spokesman.

“We are seeking an explanation from the Clinton campaign as to why this occurred as Mr. Martosko was scheduled to be the designated print pool reporter in New Hampshire this morning,” The Daily Mail said.

Clinton campaign spokesperson Nick Merrill gave no explanation as to why Martosko was blocked from covering the event.

“We want a happy press corps as much as the press corps does. And we work very hard to achieve that in tandem with them.

"It’s a long campaign, and we are going to do our best to find equilibrium and best accommodate interest from as many news outlets as possible, given the space limitations of our events.

"We have been working to create an equitable system, and have had some concerns expressed by foreign outlets about not being a part of the rotation. The journalists who coordinate the pool are in touch with them as are we, and we simply asked that until we can work all of that out that we send an outlet in keeping with previous precedents,” Merill said.

The New Hampshire GOP also issued a statement, highlighting Hillary’s lack of transparency.

“Hillary Clinton continues to run a secretive campaign that limits access to the press and to the public because she doesn’t want to answer questions about her failed record. This is a troubling trend that raises serious questions about Secretary Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness.

“Hillary Clinton’s secretive campaign is based on a clear sense of entitlement and arrogance, and it undermines New Hampshire’s tradition of open and accessible campaigning,” New Hampshire GOP chairman Jennifer Horn said.

Later in the day, Martosko noted the Clinton campaign refused to let him use the restroom. Martosko was told to "hit the woods" by a member of Hillary's Secret Service detail.

"After some confusion about the location of the morning's early childhood education summit in Rochester, NH, your pooled determined that it was at the YMCA of Strafford County and arrived at about 10:20. ... Secret Service at the main entrance refused to let your pooler in and advised to go in through another entrance near a playground. ... Visiting that doorway, another agent asked for your pooler’s name and outlet, to which the pool replied “David Martosko with The Daily Mail.” A voice from behind the door, whom your pool later learned was the head of Mrs. Clinton's Secret Service detail, was heard saying “Oh. No.”  ... The first agent sent your pooler back to the front door, advising that the head of the detail insisted. At the front door again, your pooler was asked to wait while the first agent on duty checked to see if the pool would be admitted. ... The answer: "No. You can't come in."

"Pooler was advised by that Secret Service agent that he had contacted someone “with the campaign” named “Pollard,” who personally said no, your pooler could not come in. It’s unclear who Pollard is. ... Your pooler asked if he could come inside to use the restroom. The Secret Service agent advised that the area had been swept already, so he should “hit the woods.” ... Pool saw a WMUR-TV truck outside and confirmed with a reporter from a competing local station that there were indeed pool journalist inside from photo and video. ... With a light rain falling, your pooler went back to his rental car to file this report, after counting about 210 cars in the parking lots and on the street. ... Both press pool vans from Manchester were visible outside, along with the now-famous black “Scooby” van and a contingent of New Hampshire state trooper vehicles," Martosko wrote in another pool report.

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