Editor's note: Two weeks ago I contacted Kevin Sloan, Marketing Manager for the Mars Society to request a press pass for the upcoming Mars Society convention in Washington DC. At first he said that he "looked forward" to seeing me at the meeting. Then he apparently changed his mind. After keeping me hanging for another week he finally got around to telling me that he would not allow me to attend and cover the meeting.
NASA civil servants (Mike Griffin, Brian Chase, Scott Horowitz, Andy Thomas, and Chris McKay) are slated to speak in an official capacity. Alas, although I have a NASA HQ press badge, I will not be allowed to cover these official NASA speeches - and NASA finds itself embracing an organization that bans accredited news media from covering official NASA speeches.
To be certain, the Mars Society can certainly ban anyone they wish from attending their meetings. However, an organization that seeks to deal with media coverage they might not like by simply banning that media is an organization that is afraid of external scrutiny. And what are they so afraid of? Is it that I say things they don't like about their leader, Bob Zubrin (but not about the membership)?
Thin skinned people aren't going to lead the way to Mars.