March 26, 2011

Drudge: Reporter ‘Confined in a Closet’ at Biden-Nelson Event

Question: What happens when you put Joe Biden, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Orlando Sentinel Reporter Scott Powers together in the house of a rich Democratic donor?

Answer: They don’t stay together for long, as reported in a Drudge flash late this afternoon (also carried at the PJ Tatler, whose time stamp is about 45 minutes later after adjusting for its West Coast location):

Staffers with Vice President Joe Biden confined an Orlando Sentinel reporter in a closet this week to keep him from mingling with high-powered guests gathered for a Democratic fundraiser.

Reporter Scott Powers was the designated “pool reporter” for the vice president’s Wednesday visit to the massive Winter Park, Fla., home of developer and philanthropist Alan Ginsburg. The veep hadn’t arrived yet but most of the 150 guests (minimum $500 donation) had. They were busy noshing on caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes honey and gorgonzola cheese and bacon deviled eggs, before a lunch of grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps.

Not so for Powers. A “low-level staffer” put Powers in a storage closet and then stood guard outside the door, Powers told the DRUDGE REPORT. “When I’d stick my head out, they’d say, ‘Not yet. We’ll let you know when you can come out.’”

It’s a little hard to believe that a “low-level staffer” would just do this on his or her own without orders from people who aren’t “low-level staffers.”

Searches on “Biden closet,” “Biden Ginsburg,” and “Biden Powers” (all not in quotes) at the Orlando Sentinel web site returned no relevant results. The second search noted returns a pre-event story from Tuesday.

The message that “arrived unsolicited in The PJ Tatler mailbox” seems to confirm what the Sentinel search just noted didn’t find:

Despite this outrage, Sentinel editors have dropped the story.

Some longtime journalists are furious with Biden’s team over the incident. Some are more angry at Sentinel editors for downplaying the story. Others are asking “where was the Secret Service when a crime was obviously being committed?” Others appear to have no problem with it, since it involves their “Administration that can do no wrong.”

It goes without saying that if a prominent Republican politician (or his “low-level staff”) did this to a reporter, it would be getting major coverage. The betting here is that incident will get stone silence in the establishment press.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: The Sentinel did put up a blog post on Wednesday – 

Waiting for Joe and Bill

Not looking for sympathy here, but the life of a political reporter isn’t all champagne and canapes. Consider our man Scott Powers, who was sent over to the Winter Park home of Alan Ginsburg this morning as the designated “pool reporter” — aka scribe — for the fundraiser where Vice President Joe Biden is appearing on behalf of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Turns out the veep hadn’t arrived, but about 150 guests (minimum donation $500) were already in the house. So to prevent Scott from mingling with the crowd, a member of Biden’s advance team consigned him to a storage closet — and then stood outside the door to make sure he didn’t walk out without permission.

Scott e-mailed us this photo from his temporary prison. “Sounds like a nice party,” he wrote.

They’re clearly not taking their reporter being prevented from doing his job seriously.

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3 Comments

  1. Those brown-nosers at the Sentinel are keeping their mouths shut, afraid they won’t get another invite to be treated the same way again is my guess. Let’s face it, if you were Obama and you had two foot-in-mouth experts like Biden and Spaceshot Nelson at the same shindig you couldn’t very well put THEM in the closet, although that would have been more effective at preventing teachable moments. Either one on his own is a formidable train wreck; the two together just need an accelerant to create a critical mass of stupid. I mean, they’re the two biggest boobs since Dolly Parton.

    Then again, given the tripe published by the Sentinel I find it hard to sympathize with Powers!

    Comment by Lgbpop — March 26, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

  2. I find this totally ludicrous – would you even want to work for a news organization that would not even back you up until after Drudge reported the story. And what does it say about an administration that would handle a reporter for a major newspaper like this. Then imagine what the story would be if Bush or any other Republican would do something like this. If I were that reporter I would be looking for a new job at a minimum.

    Reminds me of when I first went to work for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. I had only been there for a couple of weeks and my boss and one of my current best friends took me along for a meeting with the controller of the hospital and the payroll manager. We got there for the meeting and the controller called the payroll manager into the office with us and then proceeded to blast off on the payroll manager that he was a stupid f*ck, an idiot, a no good POS who did not know his job. And the payroll manager sat there and took it. I was new and had never even seen either of them before. This went on for about 5 minutes or more and no language was withheld. After we left I told my boss that if it had been me the controller would have been talking to empty air after about 1 minute if that and I would definitely have been looking for a new job.

    What brought that up is the fact that after the reporter was treated like this and even had a photo of the closet where he was held and mentioned that sounded like a nice party, the paper said nothing about the situation and evidently did not even complain to the Biden crew until Drudge printed the story and then came out with a half hearted story about how their reporter had been treated.

    Comment by dick — March 27, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  3. I am more discouraged by the fact that the reporter willfully stayed in the closet. This story exemplifies the spineless state of the mainstream media.

    Comment by Michael — March 28, 2011 @ 11:19 am

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