Skip to comments.Joe Biden Stiff-Arms the Press
Posted on 05/29/2011 8:14:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
A little more than a week ago, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to fund-raisers in two battleground-state cities, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Neither stop included the White House press corps; requests by local media to cover the events were denied by the vice presidents press office. The Democratic National Committee arranged all of the events for the Obama Victory Fund.
A number of seasoned political reporters and former White House press-office staffers consider that lack of press coverage to be a dangerous precedent.
It would behoove the Obama administration to keep its promise of transparency even with fund-raisers, agrees Jeff Brauer, a political history professor at Keystone College. The United States is a democracy, after all.
Having press coverage of fund-raising events with the president or vice president matters for at least two reasons, Brauer explains:
One, large amounts of taxpayer dollars are being used for personal security at such events. As with all tax dollars, they should be spent with accountability.
Two, it is important for the public to know what the president and vice president are saying to donors. Is it the same message they are saying to the electorate at-large?
Such knowledge helps citizens to judge the authenticity and integrity of officeholders.
The White House press office earlier this month rejected a request by the Boston Herald, a conservative-leaning newspaper, to cover an Obama fundraiser. Its publicly-outed e-mail said so-called pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news fairly.
Several former and current White House correspondents see a nightmare scenario in presidents choosing who covers them. The correspondents also are agitated by Bidens refusal to be covered by local press, even if that means having reporters cool their heels outside an invitation-only fund-raiser.
What if something happened to him? is the question they raise.
All administrations want to be enshrined in a warm glow. All members of the press want to protect democracy by keeping the public informed and holding administrations accountable.
Throughout American history, presidents and politicians in general have had tenuous relations with the press.
President John Adams, a Federalist, went so far as to sign the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it a crime to publish scandalous and malicious writings about government officials.
Even before signing this act, Adams had Ben Franklins grandson, editor of a Republican newspaper, arrested on libel charges for writing accusations of incompetence against George Washington and of nepotism against Adams himself, recalls Keystone Colleges Brauer.
The editor died in prison, awaiting trial.
The Sedition Act expired the day before Adams presidency ended; his successor, Thomas Jefferson, pardoned those convicted under the act.
Not until 1964, in the case of New York Times v. Sullivan, did the U.S. Supreme Court resolve the constitutional issues surrounding press freedom and public figures. That case established the very high burden-of-proof of actual malice for libel and defamation of those in the public eye.
Late last month, the White House press office threatened to ban a San Francisco Chronicle reporter from White House pool reporting after she used a cell phone to record protesters heckling President Obama at a fund-raiser.
The administration must simply get used to the idea that some media outlets are going to be critical, and that is healthy in a democracy, says Brauer.
John Adams did not learn that lesson. And it is no coincidence that he was the first one-term president and that his laws, such as the Sedition Act, were the death knell of his Federalist Party.
Days before Joe Biden was sworn into office in 2009, he promised to be more open than his predecessor, Dick Cheney.
Yet, more often than not, his official schedule lists meeting as closed press or shows no public events as being scheduled.
You may not care what any vice president does, and you may not care for the press, either but you should care deeply about the fundamental right and obligation of the press to cover the vice president and the president.
The comings and goings of Vice President Biden should not occur in an unobserved world that, to paraphrase Biden himself, is a big bleeping deal.
Come on Joe, no need to deny these requests. Just stick the reporters in a closet - they won't complain.
Good! I hope Sarah Palin employs the same tactic.
Screw the press.
At least Biden didn't stick reporters in a closet this time like he did at that fundraiser in Florida.
The Obama administration is a den of freedom hating vipers. Every damned one of them.
"Thank you sir may I have another?"
The White House press office earlier this month rejected a request by the Boston Herald, a conservative-leaning newspaper, to cover an Obama fundraiser. Its publicly-outed e-mail said so-called pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news "fairly." Several former and current White House correspondents see a nightmare scenario in presidents choosing who covers them. The correspondents also are agitated by Biden's refusal to be covered by local press, even if that means having reporters cool their heels outside an invitation-only fund-raiser.The era of legitimate live broadcast presidential press conferences is over. Obama's fault.
If this were true liberals would never win elections.
I gues Biden decided that it was a little early to start that 2016 campaign after all.
It would behoove the Obama administration to keep its promise of transparency even with fund-raisers,...
Oh please...or else WHAT??? The Obama-owned media will stop covering up/cheer leading for him????
Almost made it through the whole thing but had to stop there.
More of the ‘transparency’ of the NObama administration.
The press is acting like an organ of the Party/State. Then they are surprised when they are treated like the press is treated in Utopia.
There are some really, really stupid people and then there is biden in a class all by himself.
Hey Presstitutes! You put out, big time! The Obama Administration did NOT respect you in the morning!
Deal with it!
As a political history professor at Keystone College, it's a pity that Jeff Brauer doesn't know that we're a Republic. If my child were one of his students, I'd be looking for a tuition refund.
They’d send a cardboard cutout in his stead if they could; they’re so desperate to keep him quiet.