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Lyin' Joe Biden and the media gatekeepers

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:

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.