The office of Vice President Joe Biden is in full damage-control mode, after a young member of Biden's staff shut a reporter in a storage closet during a $500-a-head fundraiser in Florida last week. Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers, barred by the administration from talking to guests at the event, was stuck in the cluttered room for an hour before being allowed out to hear speeches by Biden and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), then returned to the storage room. Biden's office apologized for not providing a "better hold room," calling the incident "the unfortunate mistake of an inexperienced staffer." Is that all this was, or is the Obama administration hostile to the press?
This is evidence of a deeper problem: On the surface, this is funny, says Moe Lane at RedState, but it's also "very symbolic." This assault on the dignity of a member of the Fourth Estate is just part of the Obama administration's "institutional arrogance." Otherwise, Biden would have called personally to say how sorry he was — as the host of the fundraiser did. Instead, Biden's office compounded the insult by sending a dismissive email masked as an apology.
"Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers stuffed in closet at Bill Nelson shindig"
Obama and the media might not be best buddies after all: Apparently Biden's staff didn't want the reporter "mingling" with donors, says Matt Schneider at Mediaite. Powers says his confinement left him unable to do his job "fully and properly." That's unfortunate and would seem to fly in the face of the argument that "the press is too cozy with the Obama administration."
"Reporter sequestered in a closet at Joe Biden fundraiser"
Everyone involved ought to be ashamed: "There is a whole lot of fail here," says John Cole at Balloon Juice. The fundraiser was held in a gigantic mansion which surely offered plenty of nicer rooms for Powers — who, after all, was attending as a member of the White House press pool — to cool his heels. And yet, "the bigger question" is why any self-respecting pool reporter would allow himself to be "locked in a holding room in the first place," when he's there as the country's eyes and ears. "What kind of reporting is that?"
"Stenographer banished to closet"