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Biden's Press Office Apologizes for Bullying Student Reporter at Rockville Event

By Lucas High | Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS—Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary apologized to a Capital News Service reporter and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism Wednesday after a press office staffer demanded the reporter delete photos taken at an event in Rockville.

The reporter, a credentialed member of the press who is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, was covering a domestic violence event featuring Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.

The apology came shortly after a formal complaint was filed with the Vice President’s press office by Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Capital News Service is a student-staffed news service operated by the college.

“This was pure intimidation,” Dalglish said, adding that “it’s clear from the circumstance that the journalist did nothing wrong.”

Biden Press Secretary Kendra Barkoff would not speak on the record with Capital News Service. A message left for Dana Rosenzweig, the staffer who asked that the photos be deleted, was not returned.

Dalglish said Barkoff apologized to her and Capital News Service reporter Jeremy Barr in separate phone conversations.

Dalglish said Barkoff told her the incident was a “total miscommunication” and stressed that it is never the press office’s policy to request that reporters delete photos.

Barr said he unknowingly sat in a section of the crowd designated as a non-press area.

“I didn’t see any demarcation that would have designated a press entrance versus a general entrance,” Barr said.

“The event began and I took a few photos of each speaker,” Barr said. “People a few rows in front of me were also taking photos.”
After the event was over, Barr was questioned.

“(The staffer) asked, ‘Did you take any photos during the event?’” Barr said. He told the staffer, yes, he had taken a few photos.

“She said, ‘I need to see your camera right now.’” Barr said. The staffer called Barr’s presence in the non-press area an “unfair advantage” over the other members of the media at the event.

The staffer then requested to watch as Barr deleted the photos from his camera to ensure his compliance, Barr said.

After deleting the photos from the camera, the staffer asked Barr to show her his iPhone to make sure no photos were saved. Barr complied.

“I assumed that I’d violated a protocol,” Barr said. “I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she was following proper procedures.”

Barr was then asked to wait while the staffer contacted her supervisor. After approximately 10 minutes of waiting, the staffer made contact with her supervisor, apologized to Barr for the delay and permitted him to leave the venue.

Adrianne Flynn, a professor at the college and Barr's editor in the Washington bureau of Capital News Service, called the incident a “clear violation of the First Amendment.”

“This is uncalled for and completely wrong,” Flynn said.

Barr said he was relieved it was over.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened but I’m glad it was resolved,” Barr said.

While an apology goes “a long way to remedying the situation” Barr has the “right under the law to sue,” Dalglish said.

MS March 16, 2013 at 08:22 PM
The article above says that after ten minutes, Rosenzweig told Barr he was free to leave. What exactly does this mean? Did the staffer believe that Barr was not free to leave until she permitted him to leave? Did she believe she had the right to hold or delay him until she satisfied herself that he had complied with her order to delete images from his camera and show his iPhone contents to her satisfaction, or until her boss was informed and satisfied? If she said or implied that he was not at liberty to go or that he must do as she ordered, then is that not an illegal detention?
jnrentz1 March 17, 2013 at 02:59 PM
No one should be allowed to take photos of Dear Leader or his many loyal assistants. In the future Mr. Barr should be barred. How is it that some people who call themselves reporters think that they can get away with taking photos, and gathering news? Who do they think they are? Do they think they are in the United States or some other country that guarantees Constitutional liberties? Mr. Barr: If you read this please follow my advise and on Monday morning contact the Bar Association for Anne Arundel County and get the name of a suitable attorney, to help you. Other than waking up, this should be your first order of business tomorrow. Good fortune to you.
esh March 18, 2013 at 01:15 PM
The Philip Merrill dean said Barkoff told her the incident was a “total miscommunication” ?? Doesn't sound like 'miscommunication' to me. Nothing unclear about 'delete the photos'. And 'unfair advantage' over other reporters? What the heck is that? I know the situation must have been incredibly intimidating, but I'm sorry the photographer didn't know his rights enough to refuse to delete the photos. In the future, hold tight to your camera; never delete; immediately contact someone from your school or, once you are hired, your company for assistance.
Needaname March 18, 2013 at 02:02 PM
The college reporter was acting as a compliant 'child' and did what he was told by an adult. This is a learning experience for not only the reporter but all the reporters out there who where unaware of their rights.
M. Sullivan March 18, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I'd have told Dana Rosenzweig to stuff it. Who in hell does she think she is? Some self-important, sycophant nobody trying to impress her bosses? Barr needs to grow a pair if he is going to be a reporter!
Jay Levy March 18, 2013 at 04:40 PM
This incident seems to mirror that of the Montgomery County police officers, who have told those photographing arrests or other actions in public places that it is "against the law" and confiscating or deleting the photography. Of course, when higher ups are informed of their officers' behavior, we are then told it is perfectly legal to record such activities. Of course by that time no record remains.
Jonathan Inskeep March 18, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Every individual is, and should be considered, a "journalist" with all the same rights under the first amendment. This whole incident is disgusting. VP Biden and the Montgomery County police should be held accountable. Any time anyone is in a newsworthy situation, whip out your cell phone, take the video, and refuse to delete anything, peacefully of course. Jonathan Inskeep Baltimore, Maryland (formerly of Crofton, Maryland), recently illegally foreclosed upon by Countrywide / Bank of America (Organized Crime Syndicate)
Jonathan Inskeep March 18, 2013 at 08:39 PM
I previously wrote a comment, acknowledged by Patch via email, that does not appear here. Is Patch as guilty of censorship as the people they criticize?
Jonathan Inskeep March 18, 2013 at 08:41 PM
After posting my complaint, you posted my previous comment. Maybe you need a good software person to fix this, or someone who cares.
Bill Goodman March 19, 2013 at 01:58 PM
As I read all of these comments, it would appear that all of you assume you have rights. IF you haven't been listening to Owebama and his #1 Jester Biden, your rights are what they tell you your rights are. People need to get in the fast lane with this administration.
Jonathan Inskeep March 19, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Bill Goodman, Before posting something like the previous nonsense, think. If you can.
Robert Curry April 06, 2013 at 08:35 AM
Perhaps when others learn that images and video can be sent "Off Scene" by radiowaves, to another location for duplicate recording, we will finally get some openness and transparency to this type of situation!-If reporters and others would use WIRELESS to send, as it happens, the information OUTSIDE of where they are located, we can avoid instances of "DELETION" of information or evidence! Government officials often misuse their title/authority to "Create and Modify" the law to suit themselves, and "We the people" need to take steps to expose this and protect OUR rights!
Robert Curry April 06, 2013 at 08:38 AM
NOTE TO REPORTER: Often, after photos are "Deleted" from a memory card, they may STILL be RECOVERED, if the card has not been reformatted or recorded over!-There are "Data Recovery Services" that specialize in such restoration work.
JaJo May 29, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Why does every reporter believe they have the right to do whatever they want if its prefaced by "I'm a reporter”, “I have special rights”, “I am above the law and demand to be treated differently from mere “regular” citizens.” “I can invade your privacy, intimidate you, and violate you verbally and publicly in my articles, photos, and videos, as long I am reporting “news, even if it concerns no one but you.” Give me a break. Reporters and other news media types believe they are above the law. What would happen if I grabbed a camera and notepad and started following a reporter around to their job and home; posting photos and articles about their lives? It would be called harassment. Now some of you are suggesting that he sue. For what? Who? The staffer made a minor mistake. There was no harm or injury caused.

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