Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign barred reporters with prominent Chinese-language news organizations from a fundraiser last week, angering some journalists who serve this city’s sizable Asian-American community.
Reporters from at least two Chinese-language newspapers and a crew from a Chinese-language TV station were denied admission to the event Friday when they arrived after a Secret Service-imposed cutoff time, according to the journalists and the New York senator’s campaign.
The Chinese-language newspapers and others had not been included on the e-mail list from the campaign telling journalists to check in by 11:45 a.m. Friday, Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said Tuesday.
A reporter with a Russian-language newspaper and a crew from a network television affiliate also were denied admission because of the deadline.
“We’re sorry for the misunderstanding, and we’re going to take steps so that all news outlets know about the Secret Service’s requirements in advance next time so we don’t have this kind of incident happen again,” Elleithee said.
Reporter Portia Li of the World Journal – a Chinese-language paper run independently from offices in San Francisco and other North American cities – said she arrived about five minutes late. When Li showed her business card, the staffer asked for two forms of identification, which Li said she found insulting because she never had to do so at similar events.
“She kept saying this is only open for local media, not foreign press,” Li said. “I told her, I’m not foreign press. I’m local media.”
“It’s not about myself, it’s about how the mainstream looks at Chinese (people) as a whole. Why do they call us foreigners, even they we have a local address on our business card?” she added.
A slight to the Asian community could hurt Clinton in California, a state that would be critical to her prospects in a general election.
Of 22 million eligible voters in California, about 2.5 million are Asian-Americans. Nearly a third of San Francisco residents identify themselves as of Asian descent, according to the U.S. Census.