Presidential campaign events are always orchestrated stage shows, and reporters are used to campaigns doing their best to manipulate the media and control the day’s narrative.
But my experience Thursday at a Michelle Obama event in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was a first.
Obama campaign operatives barred me from talking to voters outside the event, to the point of interfering with my interviews and grabbing my microphone.
You can hear some audio of one encounter by playing my radio story above.
Here’s what happened:
During the two-hour wait for the rally to begin, I wanted to talk to some of the supporters attending the event. Since I couldn’t leave the media pen at the Upper Dublin High School gymnasium, I told press aide Devora Kaye I’d like to go and find some outside.
Kaye, who is exceptionally pleasant, said I could go out and come back in, but that I couldn’t talk to people waiting in line for the event. When I asked why, she mentioned security and crowd-control concerns, which honestly made no sense. Everyone coming into the building would have to go through security again anyway.