Do Clinton aides just want to see if reporters will spare a square?
That’s what the NYTimes‘ Amy Chozick wants to know.
Charitable commitments have been made. Important topics like Ebola and elephant poaching have been discussed. World leaders from President Obama to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan have convened.
But, for me, perhaps the person who stands out is the friendly 20-something press aide who the Clinton Global Initiative tasked with escorting me to the restroom. She waited outside the stall in the ladies’ room at the Sheraton Hotel, where the conference is held each year.
At least it wasn’t Bill himself…
Security, foundation aides told me, dictates that the hordes of journalists, many of them from overseas news outlets, be cloistered in a basement at the Sheraton. An elaborate maze of security barricades separates where reporters enter and roam (though not freely) from the lobby of the hotel, where actual guests enter.
An escort is required wherever we go, lest one of us with our yellow press badges wind up somewhere where attendants with an esteemed blue badge are milling around. When asked about the practice, Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the initiative, directed me to a press release about American Standard’s Flush for Good campaign to improve sanitation for three million people in the developing world. “Since you are so interested in bathrooms and C.G.I,” Mr. Minassian said.
Chozick makes it clear that she wasn’t singled out for any special mistreatment. Being followed around and cloistered far away from the actual event is the norm on Planet Clinton. She also makes it clear that this treatment is new to the Clinton Initiative event.
It’s not the first time that the Clinton machine has pulled a bathroom stunt. In 2008, Hillary’s campaign dispatched reporters covering them to a men’s room.
The WaPost’s Chris Cillizza suggests that the Clintons are treating the press with paranoid contempt for two reasons: They hate the media, and they don’t really need the media.
Both reasons are true. And here’s another truth: Clinton can mistreat the media from now until election day in 2016 and it won’t matter a bit. The media will still give them 10 positive stories for every one mildly critical one, and will still fawn all over them every chance it gets.
Well, Amy Chozick might not. But the Clintons are probably already working on a way to keep her even farther away from them now.