Sheriff Joe’s jails?

posted at 2:55 pm on March 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe Joe Biden should stop consulting Frank Lautenberg on media access.  A second reporter has claimed to been banished to a confined area while covering one of Biden’s fundraisers a pool reporter, while the first reporter tried to put the story in context:

In March 2010, Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton was on duty to cover a Biden fundraiser in Maryland, and was forced to wait for an hour in what he jokingly called a “cage” that was guarded by the vice president’s staff.

“Your pool reporter awaited the beginning of the event by sitting in a 5-by-8  foot, Asian-themed room with mirrors on the walls and family photos in small  frames,” Fenton wrote in his pool report during a fundraiser hosted by David S. Cordish, a Baltimore-based real estate developer. “Cordish three times brought guests, including VPOTUS, into the room to show off a collection of books about opera singer Rosa Ponselle.”

Fenton highlighted his experience in a post on Twitter Sunday night, after Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers sent pictures to the Drudge Report from a storage closet he was forced to work from during a Biden fundraiser for Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

For his part, Powers says that his “kidnapping” was blown out of proportion:

The Drudge Report popped the story big on Saturday, headline blaring: “REPORTER TRAPPED IN A CLOSET.” The Daily Mail picked up the story, as did Pajamas Media and several other right-leaning blogs. In some accounts, Powers and his editors at the Sentinel became part of an effort to cover up and spin the time he spent in dire conditions.

Powers, for his part, said the whole story has been blown out of proportion and that the accounts alleging he is trying to protect Biden and his staff are “news to me too.”

Rather, he said, the whole experience was kind of funny to him, a part of doing his job. …

The editor quipped that the room was Powers’s “temporary prison” and, while “[n]ot looking for sympathy here, the life of a political reporter isn’t all champagne and canapes.”

The blog item, Powers said, was intended to be “a bit snarky” and some readers let him know that they found it “funny.”

With two data points, it’s hard to argue that the holding room was a one-time error, but it’s also not a prison or a kidnapping, either.  Politicians of all stripes know that donors may not be particularly enthusiastic to attend functions where the press can report on their conversations.  On the other hand, they need press coverage of their speeches to generate more interest in the next fundraiser, so they don’t necessarily want to bar the media from the events altogether.  Voila — the “holding room” concept allows them to eat their cake and have it, too.

As silly as these incidents are, it does prompt some questions.  Some asked in the wake of Powers’ blog post why he didn’t leave in a righteous huff and write about his experiences immediately.  Obviously, Powers hoped to get a good story, a tidbit of reporting that would generate some headlines, as do all reporters at all political events.  (He got them, too, although not the ones he was expecting.)  Also, I’m pretty sure that getting treated rudely by staffers isn’t exactly a stunningly singular experience for Powers or other political reporters.

The bigger question should be why Biden and his team enforce the holding-room concept after running for office on promises of transparency.  Even at fundraisers — maybe especially at fundraisers — a politician’s conduct should be transparent and the promises he makes public for all to judge.  It took a blogger armed with a cell phone to expose Barack Obama’s “bitter, clinging” diatribe in 2008.  Biden and his team seem determined to avoid another such incident, but it would be better to know that he’s not saying things like that at all to donors than to shroud those conversations in a Cone of Silence.

Biden isn’t kidnapping reporters, but he is reneging on his promise of transparency.  That’s the real story from these incidents.

Update: If you want to know what really happened at the fundraiser, Next Media Animation has it figured out:

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Has anyone called R. Kelly to comment on this story yet?

teke184 on March 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM

It is intentional. Period.

Just sending a message to the lap-dog press.

coldwarrior on March 28, 2011 at 3:01 PM

“…to show off a collection of books about opera singer Rosa Ponselle.”

Ah, those working-family, blue-collar Dems and their cute little hobbies.

jamie gumm on March 28, 2011 at 3:02 PM

But so many people here in Delaware think Joe Biden is so kewl.

UltimateBob on March 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Again, try to imagine something like this being done, except the VP in question is Dick Cheney.

You honestly think the MSM would be chuckling and joking over this one?

BALONEY! You’d see every talking head and newspaper columnist from the Left Coast to The East Coast screaming bloody murder while every newspaper headline in the country would be demanding that Congree begin impeachment proceedings yesterday!

pilamaye on March 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM

And yet, and yet, even with all his staffers do to make sure that the real Joe Biden doesn’t get any media play, there are still enough Biden gaffs to fill a book.

Lily on March 28, 2011 at 3:08 PM

How any journalist can allow themselves to be treated in such a way, and not even mention it until after the fact, really shows how far the MSM is in collusion with the leftist agenda.

Really, being locked in a closet while reporting on events is “part of the job”? His blog post about being locked in the closet was meant to be “snarky”?


quiz1 on March 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Wonder how these msm reporters would feel to be in the ‘real sheriff Joe’s’ jail? The sheriff Joe in AZ, pink undies and all?

letget on March 28, 2011 at 3:11 PM

These guys can look forward to smaller cages and worse treatment…but it is all in fun…/

d1carter on March 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

d1carter on March 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Call it social or societal conditioning…the Dems are past masters of it.

A closet, a tiger cage…a concrete block cell…not all that different, really, just the ambiance.

coldwarrior on March 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

First comes my wife and then beetle nut girls, but Next Media is surely the 3rd best thing Taiwan has ever produced.

KGB on March 28, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Joe “[Obama] is clean and articulate” Biden can’t watch what he says, so his staff is keeping him safe by hiding the press out of way to keep open-mic faux pas moments from erupting, again.

Now, imagine Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, did this?

Neo on March 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Biden seems to be very comfortable now as fascist junior.

capejasmine on March 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Yup, most transparent administration evah! They don’t even bother to hide the arrogance and hypocrisy.

GarandFan on March 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Powers, for his part, said the whole story has been blown out of proportion and that the accounts alleging he is trying to protect Biden and his staff are “news to me too.”

In otherwords, his job, his family, his home, his life have been compromised? And I’m saying that in as nice of terms as I can.

If it wasn’t a big deal, and was being exaggerated, then why take pictures of the closet as proof that’s where you were kept? If it’s exaggerated, why bother saying anything to anyone about it?

capejasmine on March 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

LOL – loved that Alan Ginsburg looked like the other Alan Gisburg.

BJ* on March 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Honestly Ed, what’s the use of having a free press if they are not reporting freely and providing a service of honesty and transparency to the public. The media bows at the feet of most whom they are supposedly trying to get the facts from. It sure appears to me that most reporters in the MSM take marching orders from the DNC and worldwide progressive movement. How else do you explain the fact that one can turn on any channel of the MSM and get the exact same talking points literally within minutes of each other. If one can not trust what the reporters are saying, then what good do they do the public. The entire media apparatus is now a complete waste of time, as people are much better off researching data on their own and then spreading the facts by any means possible.

Keemo on March 28, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I wonder if any of them got fed up and made a break for it. /


(RIP, Gary Moore)

Christien on March 28, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Bitterly clinging to their arugula and Rosa Ponselle book collections…

jamie gumm on March 28, 2011 at 3:43 PM

That’s the classic Robertson/Gorham line-up in the video, but yes, RIP Gary Moore. :(

jamie gumm on March 28, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I think that as a reporter, THAT would be the story to go with, the experience of being locked in the room then trotted out like some kind of trained monkey to hear the speach and put away again. You might not get another invite, but who cares if all you did was sit in a storage closet.

Koa on March 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM

This is not a new tactic. When LBJ wanted to close the Springfield Armory he sent Mac to tour the Armory. The press pool was shunted into a small room while “the tour” was in progress. Minutes latter Mac came into the room where the press was sequestered and said the Government was closing the Armory down. This action increased the cost of the M-16 rifle by a significant amount but who cared. Beware of politicians locking doors. You might get Obama Care right out of your pocket!

Dennis227 on March 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM

I guess it would have also been a non-story if Dick Cheney had stuffed a NY Times reporter in a closet.

Rather, he said, the whole experience was kind of funny to him, a part of doing his job. …

Then he’s a pathetic excuse for a reporter and an American and a poster boy for the corruption of the media.

rrpjr on March 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Then he’s a pathetic excuse for a reporter and an American and a poster boy for the corruption of the media.

rrpjr on March 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Yeah, this reporter is a tool. Tried to stick up for uncle joe… Can’t have anything bad come out about his heroes…

sandee on March 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

You’re far too kind, Ed. This is false imprisonment,

Florida statute 787.02

787.02 False imprisonment; false imprisonment of child under age 13, aggravating circumstances.—
(1)(a) The term “false imprisonment” means forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.
(b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this section if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.
(2) A person who commits the offense of false imprisonment is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Why the reporter doesn’t go after them makes me suspicious.

corrupt, fascist and now felonious regime.

rbj on March 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Biden is a semi-illiterate redneck from Delaware who happens to be a heartbeat away from being president.Who says the United States is not the land of opportunity? If Obama and Biden can make it to the White House, anyone can.

volsense on March 28, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Powers, for his part, said the whole story has been blown out of proportion and that the accounts alleging he is trying to protect Biden and his staff are “news to me too.”

Stockholm Syndrome?

iurockhead on March 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Got his mind right?

DeathB4Tyranny on March 28, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Apoligizes for the redundancy, but I think this remains relevant:

Re: the refutation from Scott: Thus the 0bamaGandists remain strong!

Brought to you from the same group that is telling you NOT to support a Sarah Palin nomination for POTUS.

Exit Question #1: Which is the bigger 0bamaBot, the people who held Scott Powers incognito, or Scott Power himself.

Exit Question #2: What would have happened to him if Scott had not refutiated himself?

Exit Question #3: What is so funny about being locked up by the Democrat Regime? :)

DannoJyd on March 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM

I had no idea that Joe Biden’s fundraisers were attended by the cast of Airheads.

Jim Treacher on March 28, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Why the reporter doesn’t go after them makes me suspicious.

I’ll tell you why… he doesn’t want to get blackballed in the press as the guy who got a sitting Democrat VP’s staff thrown in jail.

If this were Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney, or any of a number of other Republican VPs, he’d have probably called the cops on his cell from the room and had the staff frog-marched out.

However, since it’s Slow Joe’s staff and Obama’s already in trouble despite them being in the tank for him, he’s just hoping this goes away quietly.

teke184 on March 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM

No, it’s not Kidnapping. It’s Unlawful Imprisonment.

That’s a felony too, and I’d have me a lawyer as soon as I got out of the damned closet.

quikstrike98 on March 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM