Police chased reporters away from the White House and closed Lafayette Park today in response to a gay rights protest in which several service members in full uniform handcuffed themselves to the White House gate to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
People who have covered the White House for years tell me that’s an extremely unusual thing to do in an area that regularly features protests.
A reporter can be seen in the YouTube video above calling the move “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”
You can watch the video at the above link, or here, via Gay Patriot, who writes at Big Journalism:
Now I don’t really get into the whole “shouting down the President” and “handcuffing to the White House gates” approach to things. But it is very disturbing that Obama’s people are using the District police to prevent reporters from doing their jobs and covering an act of peaceful civil disobedience. I can only imagine the breathless and shrill outrage by network news anchors tonight if Bush-Cheney had kept the press away from the White House during an anti-war protest in 2005? Surely the Bush Press Secretary would be “The Worst Person In The World” tonight on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. So why shouldn’t Robert Gibbs be tonight?
Meanwhile, last night in Los Angeles, Obama bristled when gay activists interrupted his scripted appearance at a fundraiser for US Sen. Barbara Boxer. Representatives of GetEQUAL shouted, “what about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and “it’s time for equality for all Americans.” The President, at one point bringing his remarks to a halt, said, “Barbara and I are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”
Activists David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, Laura Kanter, Zoe Nicholson, and Michelle Wright were then escorted out of the reception by security officers. Obama clearly appeared flustered and angry by the outburst.
The fact of the matter is that many Americans have soured on President Obama, including those who once were his passionate supporters – the left-wing gay community. I never quite understood their support, since Obama’s views on gay marriage (the Gay Left’s litmus test) are the same as former President Bush’s — and Bush was seen as the devil incarnate. But that being said, there are enough bodies under the Obama bus to have tipped off The Gays that they’d be next.
Looks like some gay Americans aren’t playing their part in the Obama script now. It is just sad that the White House increasingly looks like the Soviet-era Kremlin when it comes to tolerating different points of view.
No matter what your position is on both the media and gay marriage, DADT, etc, I think we can all pretty much agree that pushing the media away from covering the DADT protest in front of the WH is indeed an outrage. Is the WH to blame? The Secret Service is saying no but Jimmy Orr at the LAT Top of the Ticket blog isn’t so sure:
Now, there’s no evidence to suggest the White House was to blame. Not only would such an….
…order be unbelievably stupid, but the Secret Service is already saying it was the Park Police’s doing.
But due to its very location, people start to wonder. Reporters start to wonder. We don’t know what was going through Politico blogger Ben Smith’s head. But his headline didn’t pull any punches.
In fact, it seemed to openly mock White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
“Most transparent White House ever” it sneers. Sound familiar? Gibbs used similar words just yesterday when discussing openness at the Obama White House.
And it’s not like we want to accuse a WH which has a history of trying to control the press of … trying to control the press yesterday. Will be interesting to see how the press addresses Robert Fibbs today about this during the daily press briefing.
In any event, gay rights issues – including DADT – are clearly things Obama wants to keep off the front pages and out of the limelight. Gay rights advocates were made promises by candidate Obama and now they want him to, as President, deliver. Instead, he apparently wants to sweep them under the rug while throwing them scraps. Now, we know why Bush didn’t do much of anything to help the gay community – because he supposedly ‘hated’ gay people. What’s Obama’s excuse?