NEW YORK -- As America celebrated its independence Saturday, journalists covering presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton found theirs restricted by rope-clutching campaign aides.
The Clinton campaign corralled journalists at the Fourth of July parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, keeping the Fourth Estate away from the candidate and mostly out of earshot from exchanges with voters. Photos of cordoned-off journalists quickly went viral.
Clinton advance aides create a rope line for the press, moving with the candidate pic.twitter.com/9S7CpVt7x4
-- Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 4, 2015
The heavy-handed treatment of journalists Saturday is likely to only exacerbate the Clinton campaign's long-running tensions with the press.
Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, avoided interviews during her first two months as a candidate. Campaign events are carefully stage managed, with reporters getting few opportunities to question the candidate. And she has yet to do a lengthy national media interview.
Journalists privately met last month to discuss grievances over access on the campaign trail -- from not receiving timely logistical information to being kept too far from the candidate at public events or kept completely out of fundraisers. Representatives from the Clinton press corps brought their concerns to top communications officials the following week.
But just days after the attempted détente. , the Clinton campaign denied access to the press corps' designated pool reporter at an event. In a joint statement, fourteen news organizations condemned the campaign's decision as "unacceptable."
The press wrangling at the July 4 parade Saturday only brought more scrutiny on the campaign's handling of the media.
"Never underestimate @HillaryClinton 's capacity to fritter away commanding natural advantages with poor judgment," tweeted Politico's Glenn Thrush.
Daily Beast executive editor Noah Shachtman urged his reporters Sunday to "write a hit piece" if a candidate ever "tries to rope you like a cow."
"It's a mystery to me why any editor would ask his reporters to put up with this crap," Shachtman added. "Especially when these events are newsless!"
During a discussion of the rope incident on CNN's "State of the Union," Wall Street Journal reporter Carol Lee said "the relationship between the Clinton campaign and the press is just hostile on both sides."
"We're how many months out, and if it's that hostile now, reporters are being penned off like farm animals, where is it going to go?" Lee said.
A Clinton campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post for comment.
CNN reporter Dan Merica -- pictured in the above tweet -- wrote Saturday that "campaign aides said they brought the rope out because they feared the press scrum of around a dozen reporters and photojournalists would obstruct the view of New Hampshire voters attending the parade."
Clinton didn't discuss the rope incident during a brief exchange with reporters Saturday afternoon at Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar, in Berlin, New Hampshire.
After sitting down with two slices of pie, Clinton suggested the press go eat something themselves rather than film her. "This is not newsworthy," Clinton said, according to a pool report. "Take a picture of me standing here in front of these great pies by myself. It's a headline! It's a headline."
When one reporter asked her about Donald Trump, she responded, "You know, I'm gonna sit down and have some pie."
While campaign reporters were taken aback by the rope tactics Saturday, there is apparently some precedent stretching back to Bill Clinton's tenure as president.
Mark Knoller, a veteran White House correspondent for CBS News, tweeted that the Clinton campaign had taken "a page from the Clinton White House playbook on press wrangling."
Knoller expanded on the tweet in an email to HuffPost after speaking to a former Clinton aide.
"[T]hey didn’t like using it, preferred the honor system with the press pool, but found it only worked when they knew everybody in the press pool and could be assured none would go rogue and ignore the press wranglers," Knoller said. "The former aide also reminded [me] they sometimes used two ropes -- one to steer the press -- and the other to keep non-press out of the press area."
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