A salute to Chris Rizzo and LegalNewsline.com for asking the questions that the mainstream media could not be bothered with. It’s a relatively short story by a publication affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but at least someone noticed the fact that the person third in line to the presidency, a key figure in the nation’s health care debate, is speaking to a powerful political constituency opposed to reform.
From “Media barred from Pelosi speech“:
SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresssed the nation’s trial lawyers’ group Saturday, the media was barred from attending.
Ray De Lorenzi, associate director of communications for the American Association for Justice, said the event is exclusively for members of the national trial lawyers’ group.
“No media have ever been allowed at our conventions,” he told Legal Newsline. “This is for members only.”
Pelosi, a California Democrat, is speaking at the American Association for Justice’s annual convention in San Francisco, which has drawn hundreds of plaintiffs’ attorneys.
When asked to speak to a Pelosi staffer at the event, De Lorenzi explained that it is AAJ — not the congresswoman’s office — that controls access to convention events.
Trade associations are within their rights to restrict their events to members for many reasons: The desire to have an open, honest discussion, to limit the disruption that would come media coverage; you can even argue freedom of association. (Last year in Philadelphia, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer made several politically damaging remarks in his bumptious speech to the lawyers.)
Still, you have to think that if Speaker Pelosi has told the AAJ she wanted her speech open to the public, it would have been. Or the AAJ could have made a recording available.
And the biggest question remains one directed to the mainstream media: Here’s is a powerful political force, the trial lawyers, and a key political constituency and campaign contributor to people who are writing health care legislation to restructure a sixth of the U.S. economy. So why aren’t you interested?
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