This is all very symbolic: Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers was assigned to cover a fundraiser for Senator Bill Nelson (D, FL) that was being thrown by local real estate bigwig Alan Ginsburg. The fundraiser featured Vice President Joe Biden (D), whose staff promptly tossed Powers into a closet and refused to let him out except for the actual speeches [themselves]. This… is problematical, particularly since Biden’s been beating the transparency drum lately; well, more accurately the words on the paper in front of him are telling Biden to beat the transparency drum, and that’s just what Joe Biden is going to do, yes indeed. Fortunately for Biden, Nelson, & Ginsburg, neither Powers nor the Orlando Sentinel seem inclined to see whether all of this qualifies as ‘kidnapping’ under Florida law.
I know that people will find this story funny on first read, and superficially it is. But there’s a problem here, and it exists on a somewhat deeper level than the assault on the dignity of a member of the Fourth Estate. You see, who told Biden’s staff that they had the right to sequester a reporter in another man’s home? It certainly wasn’t Alan Ginsburg who signed off on it: as the article linked to above reports, Ginsburg fell all over himself to apologize to Powers once the former heard what had happened to the latter. As well he should have: Alan Ginsburg’s intent with this fundraiser was to maintain good relations with a sitting US Senator and generally build links, not get swept up into a dispute that threatens to sour his existing relationship with a local paper, at absolute best. Ginsburg is thanking God right now that the Orlando Sentinel isn’t threatening a lawsuit; and I’m not a lawyer, but it looks like there would have been at least a civil case there. In other words, Ginsburg mostly dodged the bullet that Biden fired.
But that is an unimportant detail for VP Biden’s staff, who – like the rest of this administration, honestly – is generally slapdash and heedless about the effects of their actions on others. Time and again we’ve seen an institutional arrogance from these people: one that may have been… well, not justifiable. But certainly unsurprising when the President is enjoying an average 63% approval rating; but at 48%? Not so much. But the administration’s worker drones are still not particularly interested in learning better, either – as one particular detail about the situation shows. You see, when Ginsburg found out about the mess he called the reporter to personally apologize and admit his embarrassment. Because that’s what you do.
Unless you work in Biden’s office: in that case, you just send an email.
Moe Lane (crosspost)