No, that remark wasn’t actually made. But based on what happened it might as well have been.
It seems the VP attended a domestic violence event recently. A student from the University of Maryland, Jeremy Barr – who is also an accredited journalist for the Capital News Service – attended. He was covering the event.
Barr took pictures. So did some of the other people around him.
After the event, Barr was approached by a member of the VPs staff. That staffer demanded to see his camera – and deleted his photos. He also demanded to see Barr’s iPhone to ensure Barr had not downloaded any of the photos to that device.
Barr was further detained another 10 minutes because the staffer needed to “talk to a supervisor”. Then he was permitted to go.
The VP’s press office later apologized, saying that the incident had been “a mistake”. Of course, they only did so after the dean of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Lucy A. Daglish, called them with a complaint.
“A mistake.” Certainly. Everybody knows you can’t take photos at a public event held in a public place. How dare he!
Why, Barr should just be glad he wasn’t sent to a closet to cool his heels. Or prevented from talking to members of the public at the event. Oh wait – sorry, those were “mistakes” by the VP’s staffers, too.
Daglish had a rather dim view of the incident, calling it “intimidation”. Barr’s editor thinks that Barr has a good case if he wants to sue.
I have to agree with both. Although I’d personally probably use a somewhat earthier term than “intimidation” to describe what happened here.