The PJ Tatler

Tricky Dick Durbin Gets His Own Media Cover-Up

Blogger Bill Kelly tried asking Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) if he will accept any blame for the US credit downgrade. Members of the Illinois media take it upon themselves to act as Durbin’s bodyguards. Here’s video.

Kelly’s question is perfectly fair. Durbin has been among the most vocal Democrats in blaming Republicans for the Tucson shooting and a host of other calamities. As Kelly writes:

He’s the Senator that hysterically compared the treatment of the Gitmo detainees to Nazis, Soviet gulags, and Pol Pot. While calling for an end to “hateful” rhetoric, he’s the one who wrongfully pointed his crooked finger at the Tea Party Movement and Gov. Sarah Palin, blaming them for the Tucson massacre and the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Recently, he’s the one that, hypocritically, accused the Tea Party Republicans of “political extortion” in the debt ceiling debate.

With Democrats from David Axelrod to John Kerry blaming the downgrade on the Tea Party, why is it not fair to ask Durbin and other Democrats if they bear any responsibility for it? He is a senator and his party does control that body, after all.

That’s what Kelly wanted to ask, but crony journalists ran interference for Durbin.

One of those crony journalists was Jim Anderson, news director for the Illinois Radio Network. You can hear him in the background telling Durbin, “He organizes tea party rallies.”  In media terms, that’s called being fair and impartial. That’s what a real journalist does.

I stood my ground and asked the question a number of times. “You’re not allowed to ask questions during a press conference,” bleated Anderson. “We are going to have you thrown out by the cops,” he said, running interference for Durbin. In addition to doing news for the Illinois Radio Network, Anderson apparently moonlights as an unpaid member of Dick Durbin’s staff.

A special agent was soon dispatched to have me escorted out of the room, where I, as press, had a right to be. At least, that’s what I read, once upon a time, in the U.S. Constitution.

I am an independent social journalist for the Washington Times Communities and contribute to the American Spectator, and among others. No other blogger, freelance journalist, or other member of the media was asked to show their credentials at this event. In fact, the event was sponsored by City Club of Chicago and was open to media and the public.

I don’t see where the guy from the Illinois Radio Network has any right to tell any other journalist or blogger what to do. It’s not his venue, and to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, he didn’t pay for Kelly’s microphone. As a writer for the Washington Times and other national outlets, Kelly’s reach is arguably greater than the Illinois Radio guy’s is. Durbin is a public servant (a quaint notion, I realize) and is accountable to the public for his words and actions. Also a quaint notion, evidently. Kelly’s removal on the pretext of journalist credentials is also unfair, since no one was asked for credentials to get into the event. The bottom line is that Durbin just didn’t want to have to answer for his words or actions.

But Durbin certainly felt comfortable telling those journalists what to do, and they evidently felt comfortable doing as told.

During my exchange with him, Sen. Durbin told (instructed) the media, “You guys aren’t going to cover this are you?” And the media…didn’t.