Reporters told not to ask audience questions at Michelle Obama event

Reporters told not to ask audience questions at Michelle Obama event (Image 1)

A woman who has been a reporter for 35 years says that government officials with Michelle Obama told reporters not to talk to the audience during a campaign appearance by the first lady this week.

Meg Kissinger, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, posted on Facebook that she was told by a White House aide that she was not allowed to talk to people in the crowd.

“[A]ssigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech today and was told by a Mary Burke aide and one for the White House that I could not speak to the people in the crowd. To say that I was creeped out is an understatement. This is what reporters do in America: we speak to people,” Kissinger posted.

 “At least that’s how I’ve been doing things — at all kinds of political events — since 1979.”

Kissinger wrote that reporters and photographers were cordoned off during the event – and that another strange rule kept reporters from sharing chairs with the audience.

An older woman who used a cane to help her walk did not have a chair, Kissinger also explained.  Kissinger offered her an extra chair, but was not allowed.

“Reporters and photographers were cordoned off in a central area with chairs and tables. Several people in the crowd asked if they could (borrow) extra chairs reserved for the media — but reporters were initially forbidden from handing them over,” Kissinger wrote.

“Eventually, some of the Burke staff gave the extra chairs to attendees,” Kissinger reported.

Michelle Obama was in Milwaukee for an appearance with Mary Burke, a Wisconsin candidate for governor.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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