Sigh. We hate meta.
Apparently Hillary Clinton doesn’t smile enough.
On Wednesday afternoon I was granted a media credential by the National Baptist Convention (NBC) for the purpose of covering Hillary Clinton’s speech before the convention in Kansas City on Thursday.
If a presidential candidate is speaking before an organization (religious or otherwise) at their meeting media credentialing is handled by the organization. That is, if you want to attend you have to ask them. We received an advisory about Hillary Clinton’s appearance at the NBC late on Monday night.
The NBC had information and a media credential application form on-line which I had to sign and return to them if I wanted their permission to cover the event:
…Videographers and photographers are not permitted to randomly approach an individual delegate in the convention hall at any time while the Convention is in session. Neither are you allowed to focus in on an individual delegate without the delegate’s awareness and permission. Members of the media are not allowed on the main stage and should stay out of the sightlines of the Convention’s camera operations. NBC [National Baptist Convention] reserves the right to require any member of the media, deemed to be behaving in an unprofessional manner, to leave the premises….
On Wednesday afternoon I received media logistics information for the Thursday evening event. Great, parking was close by! That’s important when you’re hauling cameras, a laptop, and a tripod. When you get there: parking is expensive.
Everything is hurry up and wait. Wait at the designated media entrance. It opens at the announced time. Check in. Go through a very thorough security process. Trek up to the press riser with equipment. Wait some more. This was apparently a last minute addition to Hillary Clinton’s schedule (that always happens in presidential campaigns). Someone on the riser stated they didn’t have time to reconfigure the hall for a cut (side view) riser. We were not allowed on the floor to photograph the podium. I asked.
The live music while everyone waited was fabulous (with a combo, soloists and a backup choir/group – how could it not be?). At least one of the local television stations ran short live segments including the music during their evening news broadcast.
You wait. For over two hours. You talk. Some people on the press riser are friendly, gregarious. They share stories about the news business. Others keep to themselves. I spoke with a national network cameraman assigned to the pool camera, the online producer for a local television news operation who was shooting stills, and a cameraman for another local television news operation. The latter also very helpful about trying to give me a line of sight behind him after a traveling (I assume) press video guy plopped in on my previous line of sight at the front of the riser, blocking me yet again.
The Clinton campaign media staffer was accessible, courteous, and helpful. I pointed out to him that the rotating stills spot line of sight was blocked by the pool video camera. He moved the marker for a clearer line of sight.
Halls A and B at Bartle Hall were open as the crowd trickled in. Hall A, closest to the podium, filled up. When they started closing the dividers at the halfway point, almost everyone (not me) on the riser turned around to photograph it or shoot video. And then they just as quickly turned to their devices to post it on social media. I asked a local cameraman why they thought it was relevant. He responded that the crowd was supposed to be her supporters and they didn’t all show up. I responded that it was restricted to those attending the convention. He replied that the hall was filled earlier for others. That’s an interesting take on the narrative. Gee, the event was added late to the schedule, it was at the end of the day, this was not a political convention, but a one for a serious religious purpose, and people had to go through extensive security (I assume). It doesn’t mean they ain’t gonna turn out to vote for her.
The vibe was palpable. The media as a group doesn’t like Hillary. Interestingly, one cameraman who has covered Donald Trump at rallies and filmed him in interviews stated to me in conversation while we were waiting, “He’s really nice one on one.”
We’re freakin’ doomed.
I got photos (just barely) of Hillary Clinton, no thanks to a CNN crew (reporter, producer, and cameraman) on the front row of the riser putting up a light in my line of sight to the podium to do a live stand up while Hillary was speaking. Blocking me yet again. I freakin’ kid you not.
At least the local television media did their stand ups to the side or behind the main press riser.
And some of the media narrative? Not what Hillary Clinton said, nor the reception of her comments, but that they closed off the back of the hall.