Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is giving the press the brush off, banning anyone with a press badge from his keynote address scheduled for Friday afternoon at RSA Conference 2011, a move that the 42nd president's vice president also pulled just three years prior.
Signs sprung up in the press room at RSA Conference 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Tuesday reading, in full: "Due to contract restrictions, anyone wearing a press badge will not be allowed into Friday afternoon's keynote sessions." RSA Conference brought Clinton aboard to close out the conference and celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Clinton is scheduled to take the stage at 1 p.m. pacific time for a talk titled "Embracing our Common Humanity." According to the abstract for Clinton's speech: "President Clinton served the United States for eight years during a time of unprecedented prosperity and change. Now, President Clinton is a powerful voice for progress around the world as he shares his unique insights and observations with audiences around the world. President Clinton's public speeches describe the challenge of globalization, emphasize our growing interdependence, and point the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values."
Clinton's punking of the press is strikingly similar to former Vice President Al Gore's barring of the press from his RSA keynote session in 2008.
Clinton and Gore are in the minority, however, as many high profile dignitaries, politicians and heads of state have taken to an RSA stage that was open to the press, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2007 and Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn III this year.
Clinton's media snub is a dramatic turnaround on his keynote session at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in December 2010, during which the former president welcomed the media, but barred any real-time reporting like live-blogging and tweeting during his chat. At Dreamforce, which was also held at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Clinton also banned the use of camera and video equipment during his talk.
It was unclear on Tuesday if Clinton would prohibit conference attendees from Tweeting, Facebooking or live-blogging during his Friday keynote.
Herbert Thompson, chief security strategist at People Security is scheduled to take the stage after Clinton. It was unclear Tuesday afternoon if members of the press will be allowed to attend Thompson's discussion.