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Lyin' Joe Biden and the media gatekeepers

Posted By Les Kinsolving On 11/14/2011 @ 1:30 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled

In an editorial headlined, “Thug Administration,” Human Events, a national conservative weekly, has denounced Vice President Joe Biden as both a liar and a coward.

“‘Don’t screw around with me!’ barked flustered Vice President Joe Biden during his now-famous encounter with Human Events editor Jason Mattera.”

Mattera approached Biden during an Oct. 19 press availability in the Russell Senate Office Building and politely asked: “Mr. Vice President, do you regret using a rape reference to describe Republican opposition to the president’s bill?”

Biden had been doing exactly that, even as waves of fact checkers declared his contention that rapes and murders would rise without the latest Obama spending bill to be laughably false. … They included FactCheck.org and the Washington Post, which awarded Biden its highest “four Pinocchios” rating for data fabrication.

As noted, people who have looked at the numbers know Biden is lying through his teeth. Rapes in Flint actually went down during the period he cited.

“You shouldn’t play patty-cake with politicians to gain access,” as Mattera pointed out in an interview with The Hill. “If Biden’s rhetoric weren’t outrageous and false, he wouldn’t have so much trouble responding to casual questions about it.

“Biden’s cowardice in howling for an investigation of Mattera has given new life to a viral video that makes him look very, very bad. Voters have noted the incredibly thin skin of this administration, which goes berserk at the first hint of bad press and creates websites to monitor dissident citizens.”

Since an enraged vice president has complained about Mattera to the Standing Committee of Correspondents on Capitol Hill, what is that organization’s historical record in regard to supporting decency and truth in journalism in our nation’s capital?

Louis Lautier was a reporter for the Atlanta Daily World and 35 other newspapers of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association.

From his former associates at the Daily World in Atlanta, as well as the Afro-American in Baltimore, I learned that Louis Lautier died not many years after this standing committee of correspondents voted repeatedly to keep him out of the Senate Press Gallery. After this 14-month’s exclusion, however, the Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously to overrule the Standing Committee of Correspondents and to order Louis Lautier be admitted.

The Standing Committee of Correspondents’ minutes for March 19, 1947, contain some very notable reactions, indeed, to this action by the Senate Rules Committee. For these reporters termed this ruling by the Rules Committee an “arbitrary action of the senators in ignoring the standing committee’s recommendation for a one-month study,” and they added that there was “obvious political motivation behind the senatorial order,” which constituted “a rules committee challenge of the correspondents’ own authority in controlling the press galleries.”

The effect of this (alleged) authority to “control the press galleries” – controlled by reporters rather than senators, that is – was apparent in Lautier’s testimony. He noted that the Atlanta Daily World was published six times a week with a circulation of 28,190, according to Editor and Publisher Yearbook. (The Standing Committee of Correspondents issued a press release that reported: “The committee understands that the circulation is between 2,000 and 3,000.”)

Lautier also noted that since he was accredited at the White House and attended President Truman’s press conferences, and considering the number of newspapers he represented with a circulation of “around one-and-a-half million,” “I can only conclude that the sole reason for the failure or refusal of the Standing Committee of Correspondents to approve my application to the congressional press galleries is that I am colored.” Lautier was apparently not given to any exaggeration. He noted that Negro reporters were relegated to the visitors’ galleries – when there was room. But on such noteworthy occasions as the challenge to the credentials of Mississippi’s U.S. Sen. Theodore Bilbo, “Negro correspondents had to get the news the best way they could. It was suggested that I could follow congressional proceedings through the congressional record.”

The records of the Standing Committee of Correspondents also reveal:

  • A reporter for the Washington Star was reprimanded for having accepted money from an agent of the government of Nicaragua for writing a story. But he did not experience loss of his press credentials as Louis Lautier did.

  • A reporter for the Detroit News committed a felony by impersonating a congressman, and obtaining a good seat for the Begin-Sadat Treaty signing at the White House. Another (non-journalist) impersonator – of Sen. Magnuson in Washington state – was sent to McNeil Island Penitentiary. But this reporter was not even reprimanded by the Standing Committee of Correspondents. Instead, his bylined account of his felonious lying was published on Page 1 by his newspaper, and he didn’t experience loss of his credentials, like Louis Lautier did. (His proud report of having lied has now been, in effect, seconded by reporters of the Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times who have publicly declared their willingness to steal, or lie, in order to get a story. In the case of the Baltimore Sun reporter, he told me that this willingness to steal for publication would have extended even to such U.S. military secrets as the Manhattan Project, or the top-secret timetable for our Normandy invasion.)
  • A reporter for the Los Angeles Times enlisted an accomplice to impersonate a congressman’s staffer, in order to gain access to that congressman’s office after dark. Here, this reporter stole a news release from the desk of the congressman and broke the embargo by three days. The reporter was caught and summoned to the Office of the U.S. Attorney. But he was subsequently warned, released and only reprimanded – by the Standing Committee of Correspondents. This burglar did not experience loss of his credentials, like Louis Lautier did.
  • A widely syndicated columnist for the Washington Post was discovered in 1963 to be the officer of an airline who presented a bill for $16,000 to Democratic operative Bobby Baker. This columnist was reprimanded by the Standing Committee of Correspondents. Thirteen years later, this same columnist was exposed by the Miami Herald as having become an officer of the Diplomat National Bank, as well as director of a chain of restaurants and official of a chain of karate franchises. But not one member of the allegedly concerned Standing Committee of Correspondents was apparently willing to file a complaint against Jack Anderson. They took no action against this repeated violation of their rules, and he never experienced loss of his credentials, like Louis Lautier did.
  • A reporter for the Louisville Times, not many years after the creation of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, entered the House of Representatives building and confronted retired Rep. William Taulbee of the 10th district of Kentucky. Taulbee, a Methodist clergyman, was not armed. But this reporter, Charles Kincaid, in front of eyewitnesses including House doorkeeper Sam Donaldson, drew a pistol and shot Rep. Taulbee in the head. In having researched this case for some 12 hours in the back issues of the Washington Post and the Washington Star, and having consulted with the House gallery superintendent, I learned from his 41 years experience that there is no known evidence of the Standing Committee of Correspondents ever suspended the credentials of reporter Kincaid – even for killing a congressman.

    Instead, the Washington Star strongly supported this reporter, who, it noted, came from a good family in the Bluegrass – while Rep. Taulbee “came from the hills.” Kincaid was acquitted a year later since it was reported that Taulbee had earlier in the day grasped Kincaid by the ear and expressed strong displeasure with some of the reporter’s writings in the Louisville Times. For having reportedly murdered a congressman, reporter Kincaid did not suffer loss of his credentials, like Louis Lautier did.

In addition to the Lautier case, the decision of this Standing Committee of Correspondents led the venerable columnist Richard Strout to resign from the press galleries rather than adhere to their ridiculous ruling that he would no longer be able to accept $50 fees for doing broadcasts for the Voice of America. This Standing Committee of Correspondents has also made itself internationally ludicrous by charging that both Drew Pearson and Marguerite Higgins had violated the rules because these renowned journalists had endorsed Crest toothpaste, the allegedly low nicotine content of a cigarette, Listerine, Adam hats, Bromo Seltzer and a line of men’s clothing at a local department store.

Higgins laughed and dropped her membership. Pearson appeared before this Standing Committee and confessed that he had endorsed yet another product, an empty container of which he left in the permanent files. It is a good Maryland product: “Drew Pearson’s No-Bull Cow Manure.”

And finally, this news site, in 2003, successfully won a long-fought battle with the Committee after being denied a pass to the Senate Press Gallery. WND’s legal team had charged that the Standing Committee of Correspondents had violated the newssite’s First Amendment rights by unfairly excluding it from covering Congress.


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