Senate Republicans have become fed up with the media misrepresenting almost everything they say, so they finally took action to stop it.
According to The Hill, the Senate Rules Committee decided it’s going to crack down on ambush interviews in the halls of the Senate, where reporters often stake out officials then shove microphones in their faces while demanding answers to their questions. Now, reporters will be required to obtain permission for an interview in both the Senate halls and basement, and they’re none too happy about it.
From The Hill:
Reporters were told they would no longer be allowed to film or record audio of interviews in the Senate side hallways of the Capitol without special permission.
Television reporters will need permission from senators, the Senate Rules Committee, the Senate Sergeant at Arms or the Senate Radio and TV Gallery, depending on location, before conducting an on-camera interview with a senator anywhere in the Capitol or in the Senate office buildings, according to a Senate official familiar with the matter.
The new restrictions, issued by the Senate Rules Committee, would break years of precedent, which previously set that “videotaping and audio recording are permitted in the public areas of the House and Senate office buildings,” according to the Radio and TV Gallery website.
A Senate Democratic aide said the decision to substantially curtail the access of television reporters was made unilaterally by Senate Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
As The Hill notes, crowds of reporters have reached record size on Capitol Hill, forcing the Sergeant-at-Arms to send a note to media outlets warning that they’re overcrowding the hallways and around the Senate subway system.
Now, all the crowded areas are off-limits for unscheduled interviews.
Senate officials on Tuesday appeared to also announced new restrictions on the movements of all reporters, including print journalists, in the basement of the Capitol, where it is easiest to catch up with lawmakers before and after votes and lunch meetings.
Senate Rules Committee and @SenateSAA trying to SHUT DOWN press access in halls. No more staking out hearings without permission. Not OK.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 13, 2017
CONDITIONS for any interview: Previously granted permission from senator AND Rules Committee of Senate
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) June 13, 2017
Can't help but notice this comes as Congress is crafting major legislation behind closed doors without the usual public process there either https://t.co/XutcMJPLj4
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) June 13, 2017
The real test of whether an elected official cares about 1st amendment is whether they'll defend it when it's INCONVENIENT. So far so bad https://t.co/l6KzME2Ti3
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) June 13, 2017
Sounds like Putin's Russia, not the USA. https://t.co/cGlGUNAL6T
— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) June 13, 2017
And my favorite:
Have these people read the Constitution? https://t.co/ojpVPeY5hn
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 13, 2017
Keep in mind, nobody told them they can’t conduct interviews, only that there needs to be more order in the halls of Congress – nobody has the Constitutional right to shove microphones in people’s faces without their permission and demand answers, which seems to be a tactic growing in popularity by the increasingly hostile media. Unfortunately, they all seem too arrogant to realize that if they were to just chill out a little bit, none of this would even be happening.