A press office staffer for Vice President Joe Biden forced a credentialed reporter from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism to delete photos taken Tuesday at an event in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Rockville, Md.
Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Kendra Barkoff, has since apologized for the thuggery.
The University of Maryland’s student-run Capital News Service has the story.
The reporter, Jeremy Barr, showed up to cover an event related to domestic violence. Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin were on hand.
The trouble began when he unintentionally took a seat in an area that wasn’t specifically designated for members of the press.
“I didn’t see any demarcation that would have designated a press entrance versus a general entrance,” Barr told Capital News Service.
Once the event started, Barr said, he snapped a few photos of each speaker.
“People a few rows in front of me were also taking photos,” he added.
When the event ended, Biden press staffer Dana Rosenzweig questioned Barr about his photos, according to the New York Daily News.
“She said, ‘I need to see your camera right now,'” Barr told CNS.
“I assumed that I’d violated a protocol,” the student reporter added. “I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she was following proper procedures.”
Rosenzweig’s rationale was that Barr’s presence in an area of the crowd that wasn’t designated specifically for the press gave him an “unfair advantage” over other nearby media representatives at the event.
It’s unclear what this advantage could have been.
Biden’s staffer then made Barr delete all the photos from his camera. She watched him the whole time to make sure he obeyed. She also scrutinized his iPhone to confirm that he didn’t save any photos.
Rosenzweig wasn’t done violating Barr’s rights just yet. She told him to wait while she found her boss. After about 10 minutes, the staffer told Barr she was terribly sorry, and allowed him to leave.
Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, later filed a formal complaint with the vice president’s press office.
Dalglish informed Biden’s press secretary that her staffer had broken a federal law (the violation of the First Amendment notwithstanding).
“This was pure intimidation,” Dalglish told CNS. “It’s clear from the circumstance that the journalist did nothing wrong.”
This incident follows an enduring pattern of heavy-handed behavior by Biden’s staff toward the press.
In August 2012, Biden’s staff was busted trying to convince journalists not to report a host of ridiculous things Biden had said, according to Fox News.
In 2011, as ABC News reported, Biden’s coterie had to apologize for forcing a reporter to stand in a closet for an hour.