City Desk

Inauguration Committee to Its Volunteers: Don’t Talk to the Press!

This afternoon, I was able to skim through the Presidential Inaugural Committee's Volunteer Courtesy Guide. This is the PIC's playbook for its volunteers who will be fanning out across the city this weekend, and of course on Jan. 20. There are tons of rules, helpful suggestions, and ridiculousness. Among the rules, The Volunteer Courtesy Guide, states that volunteers can not chew gum!

And then there's the section called "Volunteers and the Media." Under this section, here are a rules 1, 3, and 4 taken directly from the manual:

"1. Under no circumstances should you speak to the media or otherwise represent PIC (Presidential Inaugural Committee)....
3. In directing media personnel to the appropriate resources, remain polite and considerate regardless of the behavior of the media representatives. Members of the media are frequently working under tight deadlines and can sometimes be demanding. It is critical you remain calm and treat the media with respect and courtesy.
4. Do not criticize event activities, fellow volunteers, or PIC during public events. If you perceive a problem, seek to rectify it. Our purpose is to project a positive image of Washington, DC and the Inauguration."

Hilarious. So remember volunteers, when facing down Washington City Paper's I-Team, please text your team leader for help! And say nothing!

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  • al gonzales

    So the volunteers are supposed to give up their Constitutional rights? Ridiculous. More micro-managing & offensive, illegal conduct by the people in power - just what we've had for the past eight years.

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  • A volunteer

    These rules are for people entrusted with representing the presidential inaugural committee. All are volunteers, and nobody is being illegally deprived of any rights. Trust me, I'm one of the volunteers.

  • Arthur Delaney

    Looks like "A volunteer" is completely breaking the rules here.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Listen: I just thought the rules were funny because they were sooo unnecessary. No reporter is going to seek out a volunteer for some mushy quote about how much they love Obama. The rules just seemed a little over the top. I'm not sure this violates any rights since, well, these people volunteered and signed up to stand in the cold and direct traffic and help people find their way to a Metro stop that is actually open.

  • Going_too

    I agree that no reporter is going to seek out these volunteers for comments. What bothers me more is that, since signing up all I've gotten from them is spam, no further direction as to what they want. Thus, I think the call for volunteers served more to give them another 80,000 email addys for their donor solicitation list. That, plus serve as warm bodies to take up space on the Mall so it looks better on TV. Heck, the folks going to the Mall will really not need 1,000 extra people to point out where the Lincoln Memorial. I wished I could say this event seemed the most accessible and open ever but the organizers seem to be pandering to the media & TV audience as much as ever.

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