Star Tribune: “Matt Bartel, owner of the popular MNSpeak blog also was issued an invitation by WCCO, although the station apparently didn’t recognize the name Bartel (ubiquitous in Twin Cities publishing circles) or his business, until the event was about to start. ‘They pulled me out of the auditorium and told me that they’d become aware of the fact that I had a blog,’ Bartel said. ‘They said, ‘We don’t want you to participate,” then offered him a choice: surrender his notebook or leave the event. I wasn’t going to give them my notebook; I had business stuff in there.'”
More from Bartel at his blog, where he confesses that he agreed that he would not talk about the event. This kind of Stalinistic strong-arming is something that no blogger should have to go through, not as long as the First Amendment (or what’s left of it) exists. Bartel was issued an invitation, but, as far as I can tell, there was no agreement in place that suggested he couldn’t write about the event (although there appears to have been an oral promise from WCCO news staffers). In fact, if WCCO was so concerned about public perception from bloggers, why were they idiotic enough to invite a blogger in the first place?