Transparency Biden style: Reporter locked in closet during fundraiser for Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida


Is this more of the transparency that the Obama administration had promised? I don’t think closet doors come in any other option than “opaque”. This comes from The Daily Mail and it involves one of my local hometown reporters from the Orlando Sentinel…

Er, we made a mistake… Vice President’s aide apologises to journalist locked in a closet for hours during fundraiser

By Simon Neville
Last updated at 3:04 AM on 28th March 2011
An aide to Vice President Joe Biden has apologised to a reporter who was locked in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said the decision to hold local reporter Scott Powers there was a ‘mistake’.

And she claimed an inexperienced staffer had put Powers in the closet instead of a ‘hotel room’ as was their normal practice.

As the unaware $500-a-head invitees dined on caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes honey and gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps, last week, the veteran reporter was locked away.

Vice President Joe Biden
Veteran reporter Scott Powers was locked in the closet for most of the event. He emailed from inside 'sounds like a nice party'

1st Amendment: Freedom of the press was stretched when VP Joe Biden’s staff refused to let reporter Scott Powers, right, talk with guests at a fundraiser with Sen Bill Nelson

Imprisoned? Powers snapped this image of the closet in which he was held and posted it onlineImprisoned? Powers snapped this image of the closet in which he was held and posted it online

The Orlando Sentinel reporter was ushered into the closet inside wealthy property developer Alan Ginsburg’s Winter Park mansion, after being told that Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson had not yet arrived.

They were due to speak to the audience to raise money for the 2012 elections.

 

He was told he could only come out when the politicians were ready to give their speeches.

The event was being held for Democrat senator Bill Nelson. Powers emailed from inside the closet: 'sounds like a nice party'The event was being held for Democrat senator Bill Nelson. Powers emailed from inside the closet: ‘sounds like a nice party’

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.”’

After 90 minutes he was allowed out to hear Biden and Nelson speak for 35 minutes, before being taken back to the closet for the remainder of the event.

From inside his temporary prison Powers emailed his office from his cell phone: ‘Sounds like a nice party.’

When Ginsburg – who has supported both Democrat and Republican candidates in the past – learnt of the treatment that took place in his house, he called the reporter.

Powers said: ‘[Ginsburg] said he had no idea they’d put me in a closet and was very sorry.

‘He said he was just following their lead and was extremely embarrassed by the whole thing.’

Today Ms Alexander followed suit.

She said Power has accepted her ‘unequivocal apology’ made shortly after the fundraiser.

‘This was the unfortunate mistake of an inexperienced staffer and the vice president’s office has made sure it will never happen again,’ she said.

She said pool reporters are usually given ‘hotel rooms’ when the Vice President speaks at private homes.

She explained that the closet was chosen because of its ‘close proximity’ to the room where Mr Biden was speaking, and that it had a table and chair where the reporter could work, as well as open space.

But she clarified: ‘A hotel room, however, should not be a storage room’.

Some guests were shocked by the Vice President’s staff.

One emailed the paper saying: ‘I was in attendance at the Fundraiser and enjoyed a nice lunch.

‘If I had known there was a reporter stuffed in the closet, I would have been compelled to stand up and demand answers.

‘I would also like to know if this is actually legal to treat people like caged animals. I’m disgusted by these actions.’

Florida state law says kidnapping entails ‘forcibly, secretly or by threat confining, abducting or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority.’

Alan Ginsburg's home was awash with 150 guests - non of whom seemed to know Scott Power was being held guard in the closetAlan Ginsburg’s home was awash with 150 guests – non of whom seemed to know Scott Power was being held guard in the closet

Powers said of his treatment: ‘It was frustrating and annoying that I was not given a chance to do my job fully and properly.

‘This was an extreme, and extremely inappropriate way of handling the press… it was essentially a rude and uncomfortable way to treat a reporter.’

He attempted to play down his treatment calling it ‘hardly unusual or shocking’ and confirmed that he received an apology from Ginsburg.

But he said the Vice President’s staff emailed him an apology which ‘I found far less satisfying than Ginsburg’s.’

The incident is especially embarrassing for the administration because it comes at a time when the White House has been condemning the treatment of journalists trying to report in Libya.

Just ten days ago, President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: ‘journalists should be protected and allowed to do their work.’

The Vice President’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Let’s be real… This was NOT an accident. This administration continues to look more and more like a Communist regime. This isn’t even funny anymore. Dear God, what is happening to our country? These leaders need to be locked up, but not in a closet. Shame on Biden! Shame on our mainstream media for NOT covering this as a front page article or headlining the 6:00 news. What has happened to our media? When did they stop looking out for their own? Are they all propaganda outfits now?!?!?

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