Let me tell you a little story. It’s called “The Washington Independent Gets Fucked by a Big Wad of Red Tape.” It goes like this: We apply for accreditation with the congressional press galleries so our reporters can hang out in the Capitol and chat with senators and all that useful stuff. We get rejected because of confusion in the archaic gallery rules that essentially comes down to the definition of the word “or.” We appeal and appeal, and enlist the help of powerful senators and powerful journalists, all to no avail. After about a year, we give up and reload for a future battle.
Now let me tell you another little story. It’s called “Damn, That Was Easy.” It goes like this: I ask the secretary in my office at the FAS if she thinks I can get accredited to cover the Bundestag (the more important house of parliament in Germany). She gives me a form. I fill it out. She faxes it in. She tells me I need to go to Schiffbauerdamm 17 to get my picture taken. It’s a five-minute walk from the office. It’s a very Soviet-looking building:
I go up to the third floor and enter a small room. I say I’d like a press pass. The woman asks what my name is. I tell her. She pulls out a piece of paper. She tells me to sit in a chair, and she takes my picture. Thirty seconds later, this pops out of the printer:
And just like that, I’m able to get in here:
Cool trick, isn’t it?