Sen. Bennet welcomes reporters to dodge new Capitol rules, but it addresses the wrong problem

Counterpoint: Capitol press are not banned from the hallways. (That would be a much darker change.) They are banned from interviewing in the halls.

Michael Bennet on Election Night 2016 at the downtown Denver Westin. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Michael Bennet, the Democratic senator from Colorado, has an interesting solution to the latest standoff between the free press and the U.S. Congress. We’re guessing it won’t be very effective.

Earlier today, U.S. Senate staff told reporters that they “could no longer film impromptu interviews with senators in Capitol hallways,” Politico reported. Instead, they’d have to get permission from the Rules Committee’s chief counsel and the senator.

That’s a significant change to the current model, where reporters are pretty much guaranteed access to elected officials if they just wait around the hallways long enough. The change could make it easier for senators to, say, dodge questions about the secretive Republican effort to pass the health-care bill.

Anyway, Bennet’s idea is this: Instead of working in the hallways, reporters can simply come and set up shop in his office.

“We’ll make our conference room a free press zone,” he tweeted.

Counterpoint: Capitol press are not banned from the hallways. (That would be a much darker change.) They are banned from interviewing in the halls.

So, this is really only going to be useful if you manage to lure a senator into Bennet’s conference room. Maybe you can tell them there’s a draft of the health-care bill inside. Or a Super PAC.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.