Media Doesn't Get Full Access to DNC

August 26 2008, 6:25 AM

Some 15,000 members of the press--and probably hundreds more bloggers--are chasing after every story the Democratic National Convention has to offer. But the newsies will find it difficult to report on some of the myriad events taking place. That's according to the Convention Host Committee's calendar, which lists nearly 400 receptions, tours, conversations, caucuses, luncheons, and other events. Some are open to the media and some are not. By my count, about a third of the "public" events are closed to the media. That includes the Daily Show's broadcasts and the Willie Nelson concert at Red Rocks--both of which probably don't want hordes of reporters milling backstage. But look at these other exclusions:

  • "Let's Get Serious," featuring comedian-turned-Minnesota-candidate-for-U.S. Senate Al Franken
  • "Rocky Mountain Roundtable" discussions on education, retirement security, and other issues
  • A John Hickenlooper event for the American Wind Energy Association at the Wynkoop Brewing Company
  • Rock the Vote's "Ballot Bash"
  • Planned Parenthood's "Sex, Politics, and Cocktails Late Night Dance Party"
  • A visit to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy laboratory
  • A toast to the travel, hospitality, and real estate industries American Hotel & Lodging Association

Okay. You're thinking, "So what? Those persnickety reporters just want to turn everything into a story and the Dems deserve some privacy." But what the press doesn't report, the public doesn't know, goes an old newsroom maxim. Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for OpenSecrets.org, a nonpartisan watchdog group that follows the money in politics, didn't know about the exclusions. "If they're really interested in holding forums on subjects such as the greening of real estate, a better way to spread the word is to give open access to the press," Ritsch says, declining to theorize about what the motives for restricting access might be.

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