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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 09:20 AM ET, 10/27/2011

Biden and rape question: Picture?

John King in the video below does a wonderful job of exposing the shiftiness of Human Events’ Jason Mattera in ambushing Vice President Biden last week.

The journalistic outing that Mattera undertook started with the most righteous of motivations: He wanted to challenge Biden on his claim that if the Republicans didn’t pass the jobs bill, rape would go up.

How he chose to challenge Biden tarnished the entire effort. He caught the vice president coming out of a meeting and asked him, “Picture?” The obvious implication is that he’s a tourist or some admirer of the veep who wants to plant the photo on his desk.

Once he got the vice president close enough for the photo op, however, he fired away with the excellent, tough questions. Biden has been on the defensive about the rape stuff ever since.

CNN’s King wouldn’t let go of the ethical questions spurred by Mattera’s clear deceit:

John King: Jason, I want to get to the confrontation. . . . As a journalist, do you think it’s fair to say, hey do you want to take a vice president? Essentially posing as a tourist or a staffer, someone trying to take a picture with the vice president?
Jason Mattera: Well, John, we have to clear up some stuff — I was wearing my media badge...
John King: Where were you wearing your badge?
Jason Mattera: Where was I wearing my badge? It was on my belt loop...
John King: Visible to the vice president?
Jason Mattera: [Showing some frustration with the persistent line of questioning about the badge, even though he himself was the one who brought the badge into the discussion] Of course it was, but listen. The vice president and his office is trying to divert attention from his flat-out lie about rape surging across the country and Flint, Mich., particularly, and trying to have that attention placed on these tactics. In fact, there’s now more media attention on the tactic than there was originally on Biden’s claim.
John King: Do you think it’s right — you misrepesented yourself.
Jason Mattera: No, I didn’t.
John King: You said, could I have a picture with you?
Jason Mattera: Journalists can’t take pictures with the vice president?

Bottom line: Mattera did misrepresent himself. The ruse he deployed is common for people who are not credentialed journalists, and using it was a clear signal to Biden that he was dealing with someone who would not pose a tough question.

Of course, that’s exactly the point that Mattera is making here — namely, that he managed to catch the vice president in an unguarded moment. It’s an ends-justify-the-means ploy. And as far as that goes, Mattera should just let it all hang out by saying something along the following lines:

Yes, I deceived the vice president. Yes, it was a little slimy. But, hey, I work for Human Events, and there’s no way on earth the vice president’s handlers are going to give me face time with him about his rape remarks.

Those handlers proved that point just as soon as Mattera started questioning the veep’s conduct; they suddenly decided “we’ve got to go” and shoved Mattera aside.

By  |  09:20 AM ET, 10/27/2011

 
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