|(April 30, 2021, 6:30 a.m.) -- It's ugly when third world regimes rush to cover a reporter's camera lens. It's similarly ugly here when smiling officials block reporters from accessing firsthand a major newsworthy matter and then spoonfeed media outlets what officialdom wants shown and told.
That media manipulation is scheduled this morning April 30 when, according to a County media rep yesterday, the County is implementing a protocol to suit federal HHS officials. We editorially note that the protocol will effectively block most reporters from firsthand access to L.A .County Pomona Fairplex facilities used to temporarily house migrant minors. On April 22, Long Beach officials, apparently similarly complicit with HHS desires, did basically the same thing and got away with it by preventing most reporters from seeing firsthand the Long Beach Convention Center detention facilities for migrant minors.
In both cases, we object.
And we're fed up with euphemisms. Both sites, temporary though they may be, are federally operated detention facilities. The Biden administration and its local allies can't have it both ways: shrugging media restrictions on detention facilities for unaccompanied migrant minors while using media outlets to portray the facilities as happy-face childrens' playgrounds.
In both Long Beach and Pomona, HHS and its local enablers abused the practice of offering "pooled" coverage in which one or two reporters and a photographers get access and allow others to use their text and photos. Pooled coverage is appropriate when physical conditions (e.g. a political fundraiser inside a person's home) don't permit access by a large group of reporters. That wasn't the case on April 22 at the commodious Long Beach Convention Center and won't be so on April 30 at the sprawling Pomona Fairplex.
No, the pool isn't to protect the privacy of migrant children. They weren't present at either location yet. Those two events should never have been pooled. In our view, they were pooled as part of an effort to manipulate press coverage.
In both cases, event organizers offered self-serving politicians access that they denied to most reporters trying to tell you the story. The electeds and their supportive allies toured the Convention Center with two pooled reporters and a pooled photographer (from a single media chain) plus a TV outlet's video. The pols and their supporters then emerged to offer a "press conference" with predictable responses from the supportive politicians and groups.
It was ludicrous. In Long Beach, questions were allowed in person; in Pomona, a media advisory demanded questions in advance. LBREPORT.com used the April 22 opportunity to ask Long Beach's Mayor a quick question about initial White House involvement; he answered but follow-ups weren't allowed and we didn't directly raise the pooled media issue at that time. Neither did others.
But one of our competitors got to the heart of the matter with his question, paraphrased here: How will we be able to confirm whether everything you're promising will actually be provided. he asked. After hearing the tap-danced response, we have no idea.
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We told our readers about the manipulative constraints placed on us and others. "A City of Long Beach press event (April 22) didn't allow reporters' access to LB Convention Center areas that will house migrant minors, but gave elected officials and City-selected supportive groups a tour of those areas, offering reporters pooled photos and text from two reporters and a photographer from the Southern CA News Group (chain that includes PressTelegram and Gazettes)" we wrote on April 23.
LBREPORT.com published some of the pooled photos. .
We also published the SCNG pooled text but noted:
It's not immediately clear why reporters were restricted to pooled coverage of the Convention Center facilities., Critics of the Trump administration charged it was putting children in "cages" but when the Biden administration initially faced a surge of migrant minors, independent reporters revealed continuing similar practices. Stung by the whistle-blowing reports, the Biden administration scrambled to make changes (pool reporters saw no Convention Center "cages.") However politically progressive groups (locally including Long Beach Forward locally) have publicly criticized current policies that result in the de facto custody/incarceration of migrant minors...
Now we know this wasn't a Long Beach protocol. It is apparently a Biden administration protocol executed in Long Beach and now being replicated in Pomona. In response to our April 29 inquiry, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis' deputy press aide acknowledged that the County was following HHS' desired protocol. (She was unclear if the feds demanded this or merely requested it.)
What are they trying to hide? At this point we don't know. But LBREPORT.com, now in our 21st year of providing independent online news coverage, strongly objects to federally-desired locally-enabled actions to control access and manipulate coverage of the temporary Long Beach and Pomona migrant minor detention facilities.
We hope our brothers and sisters in the L.A. and Long Beach press corps will do likewise.
Title revised on May 1<
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