On Thursday, Hillary Clinton delivered a fundraising speech at the private residence of Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. The venue, a tent pitched on Hickenlooper’s lawn, was positioned close to the nearest street, which would have (theoretically) enabled non-guests to listen in on Clinton’s remarks. According to an on-scene reporter, however, the Democratic frontrunner’s campaign used a “static noise machine”—i.e., a larger speaker blasting static interference—to prevent such eavesdropping:
Guess @HillaryClinton campaign dsn't want reporters to hear fundraiser speech. Turned on a static noise machine pointed at us when she spoke— Stan Bush (@StanBushTV) April 8, 2016
The above tweets don’t actually depict the static noise machine, and while there does appear to be some kind of noise playing in the attached videos, it’s hard to tell from the audio how much of it is normal street noise. That said, it’s not unheard of for Clinton’s campaign staff to interfere with reporting. As Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller noted, “The Clinton campaign frequently uses noise in another way to prevent reporters from overhearing the candidate’s remarks. Often, while Clinton is shaking hands with voters at campaign events, staff will crank up music to prevent reporters from recording their conversations.”
As far as we can tell, the Clinton campaign has not denied—or even addressed—its alleged use of a static noise machine. The candidate’s press shop did not respond to requests for comment from at least three other outlets, including our sister site Gizmodo. Nor was it immediately available to respond to Gawker’s own questions. Governor Hickenlooper did not immediately respond to our inquiries, either.
Reporters could hear a band playing, according to CBS Denver’s Stan Bush, but the sound-camouflaging noise engulfed their ears before Hillary began talking. The band was later identified as Big Head Todd and the Monsters.