It was the big story on Beltway Twitter over the weekend: The Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign, at a Fourth of July parade in New Hampshire, kept reporters behind a moving rope line so as not to get too close to their candidate.

The images were striking and quickly earned snide comments from reporters who have long been frustrated with their access to Clinton's campaign, as well as from others who saw the effort as heavy-handed.

And it's not hard to see why people are frustrated. We would hardly be the first to suggest that it looks like the media are being herded like cattle or sheep.

Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri took to “Morning Joe” on Monday and gamely tried to defend the tactic, with limited success.

“We try and allow the press as much access as possible, but my view is it can't get in the way of her being able to campaign,” Palmieri said as the hosts laughed. See for yourself here:

And it's an important story: Is a candidate for the highest office in the world allowing the press sufficient access as she seeks that office? Will the press be allowed to actually do its job and provide the kind of scrutiny and coverage that this process requires?

We've written about this plenty before. No, Clinton isn't required to do anything, but we would posit — and yes, journalists can't help but be biased in this regard — that transparency and a healthy media vetting process are good things for democracy.

It's a debate that means a lot to people like us. Unfortunately, it's likely to be of very little concern to actual voters, which is precisely the gamble that the Clinton campaign has been taking from Day One of this campaign.

The Constitution Center in 2013 asked people what they thought the the most important freedom was. Just 1 percent cited “freedom of the press.” It ranked behind the right to bear arms and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And as we've noted before, there are very few things that are as unpopular as Congress these days. But the press is close.

A Gallup poll last month showed fewer than a quarter of Americans say they have at least “quite a lot” of confidence in both newspapers and TV news. Those numbers have basically never been lower.

And another Gallup poll in 2014 showed just 10 percent of Americans had a “great deal” of confidence in the news media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.

We could go on, but the takeaway of all these polls is all the same: The American people are not going to cry for the news media. Whatever legitimate questions can be raised about roping off reporters and whether that's, you know, something you do, people are already suspicious of the news media and, accordingly, might think the Clinton campaign is well within its rights to do what it did.

To the extent that people could care about something like this, of course, the images from Saturday might drive that home. After all, it's rare that you get such an easy and apt illustration of the Clinton campaign's treatment of the press. A well-documented rope line is much less abstract than, say, pointing out that the campaign hasn't returned your phone calls in paragraph No. 11 of a 900-word story.

In addition, you can make an argument that it exacerbates a problem that Clinton already has: honesty. Poll after poll has shown more people see her as dishonest than honest, and roping off the media could reinforce the idea that she has something to hide.

But when it comes to whether this actually shifts the paradigm in any meaningful way, color us skeptical.

As with all the previous clashes between the media and the Clinton campaign, this is about an internal struggle. Some campaigns try to cater to the press to improve relations with reporters and prove they have nothing to hide; others try to keep reporters at arm's length.

The Clinton campaign is very much taking the latter approach, hoping that roping off reporters allows their candidate greater freedom to campaign and talk with average voters — not to mention avoiding the kind of unscripted, videotaped moments that can really hurt a candidate.

The debate over how Clinton's campaign treats the press will surely continue — and this is as good a flashpoint as any. Perhaps it also reinforces the negative perception of Clinton as dishonest.

But if you're looking for a sympathetic victim in all this, the news media is hardly your ideal.