March 17, 2013

Not News: Biden Staffer Forces Press-Credentialed Student to Delete Photos Taken at ‘Open-Press’ Event

Concerning a Wednesday incident which would surely have received much wider play if it had involved former Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration, Capital News Service reported that one of its reporters was forced by an aide to Vice President Joe Biden to delete photos he taken at an event in Rockville, Maryland. Based on a Google News search on “Biden Maryland” (not in quotes, sorted by date with duplicates), the Politico’s Dylan Byers was the only person in the national establishment press to run an item on the incident — lending additional credence to the theory that stories the rest of the press won’t touch get deliberately buried there with the excuse that “Oh, the Politico dealt with that already, so we don’t have to.”

Several paragraphs from the Capital News Service report follow the jump (internal link was in original; bolds are mine):

VP BIDEN’S PRESS OFFICE APOLOGIZES FOR DEMANDING THAT REPORTER DELETE PHOTOS

Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary apologized to a Capital News Service reporter and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism Wednesday after a press office staffer demanded the reporter delete photos taken at an event in Rockville.

The reporter, a credentialed member of the press who is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, was covering a domestic violence event featuring Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.

The apology came shortly after a formal complaint was filed with the Vice President’s press office by Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Capital News Service is a student-staffed news service operated by the college. (Read Dalglish’s letter)

“This was pure intimidation,” Dalglish said, adding that “it’s clear from the circumstance that the journalist did nothing wrong.”

Biden Press Secretary Kendra Barkoff would not speak on the record with Capital News Service. A message left for Dana Rosenzweig, the staffer who asked that the photos be deleted, was not returned.

Dalglish said Barkoff apologized to her and Capital News Service reporter Jeremy Barr in separate phone conversations.

Dalglish said Barkoff told her the incident was a “total miscommunication” and stressed that it is never the press office’s policy to request that reporters delete photos.

Barr said he unknowingly sat in a section of the crowd designated as a non-press area.

Well then, off with his photos, I guess.

This should be news especially because it’s part of a pattern.

Byers, who somehow thinks it’s important whether or not the staffter who demanded the photos’ deletion is paid or unpaid (since you went there, Dylan, I would argue that somone who is unpaid is far less likely to free-lance and make a decision to intimidate without instructions from her superiors), noted that “In October, campaign aides stopped Columbus Dispatch reporter Joe Vardon from speaking to voters at a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio. At the time, Biden spokesperson Amy Dudley called it “a miscommunication on the ground.”

“Somehow,” Byers forgot a far more offensive indicent which occurred just two years ago. In 2011, Biden’s staff made Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers a virtual prisoner in a storage closet for several hours — even though he was the pool reporter for the campaign fundraising event. At the time, many, including “some longtime journalists” were furious with what Biden’s staff had done, at the Sentinel for not raising a stink.

A writeup at the time of the Powers incident at PJ Tatler also reminds us that in 2008, “then-Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden exploded and flatly refused to answer the insightful questions of an Orlando television reporter when she asked about Obama’s connections to ACORN, socialism and his ‘spread the wealth’ comments to Joe the Plumber.”

Each and every one of these heavy-handed incidents would be or would have been major news if they had occurred while a Republican or conservative was serving as Vice President.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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