In this Administration, Freedom of the Press Isn't Allowed to Come Out of the Closet

| March 27, 2011 | 2 Replies

They told me if I voted for John McCain, government officials would imprison reporters to keep their doing secret…and they were right!*

The White House website proudly says ‘President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.’

But try telling Vice President Joe Biden’s staff that, after they held a local reporter in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests.

As the unaware $500-a-head invitees dined on caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes honey and gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps, veteran reporter Scott Powers was locked away.

I promise you, this is not a joke. Members of Joe Biden’s advance team stuffed a reporter from the Miami Herald in a closet and kept him there, against his will, for an hour and change. They released him long enough to ask a few perfunctory questions, then stuffed him back inside until the event was over.

I’m not surprised this happened. It’s not like Democrats are all that strong on free speech or transparency these days. What does surprise me, just a little bit, is the cone of silence that the MSM kept on this story for five days.

Here is a search I ran on the Orlando Sentinel’s web site, which you can see shows nothing about their reporter’s unwilling captivity. Same at the Miami Herald, where the only mention of the event is a passing one in an article that highlights a distorted attempt to Governor Rick Scott by the Vice President. The only mention in the St. Petersburg Times is a blog entry that links back to the Drudge post that (I believe) broke the story.

Biden’s office eventually gave the reporter a half-hearted apology that didn’t placate him all that much but we’ve not heard that anyone was fired, or even disciplined for their boneheaded actions.

Why are we only hearing about this now? I can guarantee you if Dick Cheney’s advance team had shoved some hapless pool reporter in a storage closet for nigh on two hours, that reporter’s story would have been on the front page of every big daily newspaper and the Huffington Post on Thursday morning. Every single network news report would have led with the story Thursday and they’d still be talking about it this weekend. The outrage from Scott Powers’ MSM comdrades would have blazed hot enough to power a major US city for a month.

But today, days after Scott was essentially kidnapped by a bunch of hapless staffers working for a hapless Vice President in a hapless administration, we get only mild amusement if not outright boredom from the rest of the MSM. Not egen Scott’s own newspaper found the story interesting enough to merit a few hundred words or a sharp editorial about Freedom of the Press, government transparency, or basic competence and courtesy. 

Double standard? What double standard?

*This is, of course, a blatant rip-off of Glenn Reynolds now internet-famous post headline. Any suggestion that I used it to get his attention will be met with mocking but slightly embarrassed laughter.

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Category: Political Pontifications

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