The “Press Pass” Is an Oxymoron
By Dennis Hokama, July 10, 2015: It is now the end of the 8th day of the 11-day General Conference (GC) in San Antonio, and I have yet to gain access to any location by displaying my press pass. On the other hand, I have been banned from the delegate floor because I had a press pass displayed along with my delegate family pass. So my press pass was not merely ignored but became the basis for being targeted for banning from the delegates floor since July 7, despite the fact that I also had a delegate family card around my neck.
The security guard told me I could not display my press pass but must hide it in order to gain entrance to the delegate level. Being the cooperative and compliant fellow that I am, I hid it under my shirt and was finally able to gain entrance by pretending NOT to have a press pass.
If this were my first GC, I would conclude that GCs were simply not the place to own or display press passes. But this is my fourth GC, and in the previous three, that is to say, Before Ted Wilson (BTW), press passes actually functioned as something useful, and writers displaying them actually had full access to the press box and to the delegate floor.
Some have tried to explain this change in policy that transforms a press pass into a press ban as due to the small press box in the Alamodome, or unfortunate miscommunication between Alamodome security and a bumbling Wilson administration.
But that does not explain the banning of the press from the delegate floor that has lasted through the 8th day of the GC and will presumably remain in place through the entire GC session. Access to the delegate floor is important for journalists because that is the most reliable place to make contacts with certain delegates. Stories will not get written or will be written with far less documentation because of this ban.