Biden's office complains about reporter's conduct in hallway interview
October 25th, 2011
06:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden's office complains about reporter's conduct in hallway interview

Washington (CNN) - In the wake of an unscripted and confrontational interview with a reporter from a conservative news organization last week, staff for Vice President Biden phoned a Senate official to raise concerns about the reporter's conduct and to inquire whether the reporter violated any rules governing news coverage on Capitol Hill, a person familiar with the incident told CNN.

In the interview, which took place in a crowded public hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building, Human Events reporter Jason Mattera pointedly questioned Biden about his assertion that rape and other crimes would rise if Congressional Republicans voted down part of the president's jobs bill aimed at funding police jobs.

At issue is whether Mattera was able to position himself close to Biden for the interview by misrepresenting himself.

In video of the incident, Mattera can be seen signaling to Biden that he wants a photo with him, as if he was a member of the public who wanted a souvenir. Only after Biden turned shoulder to shoulder with Mattera, ostensibly to pose for a photo, did the reporter question the Vice President.

In the interview, Biden turned testy. At one point, he warned Mattera not to take his crime rate comments out of context.

"Don't screw around with me," Biden said. "Let's get it straight."

Mattera, who has conducted other so-called "ambush" interviews, was wearing a congressional press credential at the time of the interview with Biden.

Heather Rothman, a BNA reporter, who is the chair of the Executive Committee of Periodical Correspondents, which credentialed Mattera, said her organization is aware of the concerns of the Vice President's office.

"We're aware of the concerns," Rothman said. "We're aware this occurred and the Vice President's office has made contact."

A spokeswoman for Biden declined to comment about the matter.

A CNN review of the rules governing reporters credentialed through the periodical gallery, which are available on its public website, don't point to any obvious infraction by Mattera.

A formal investigation by the Executive Committee of Periodical Correspondents would only take place if the organization received a formal compliant about the reporter's conduct, said the source who confirmed the Vice President's office had called with questions and concerns. To this point, no formal complaint has been filed, the source said.

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Filed under: Jobs • Joe Biden • Senate
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. AzRose

    If that had been a left wing reporter, there would be no problem. Reporters get paid to ask questions and Biden was rude with his remark.

    October 25, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. marcus

    Freedom of press Biden! If you don't know what it is, you better ask somebody.

    October 25, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Buster

    I find the more we have to listen to Biden cry the more I miss Cheney. At least Cheney had tough skin and didn't go around crying every time someone upset him. Biden needs to do himself and all of us a favor.....GROW UP! Besides, why should this reporter be punished for doing his job reporting that the VP of the United States told a lie (one of many) just to make his point. How embarrassing to have the VP of the United States act like a two year old brat.

    October 25, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    I have to take the reporter's side........the Democrats are so used to the other networks taking their side, that they can't stand to be questioned about their actions.

    October 25, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. MaryM

    Bye Bye Jason Mattera. LOL so you thought you could get away with you ambush style reporting. Say bye bye to your career.

    October 25, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. godott

    Story should mention which news organization he works for...

    October 25, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Portland tony

    "SAY IT ISN'T SO JOE" and you want to President and can't stand a little grief from a reporter!

    October 25, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Jerry

    Watch out communications mediums. Next, they will go after Fox News and any other media that has the "guevos" to confront the Democrat's lying and exaggerations. Mr. Mattera, PLEASE stand your ground and be unafraid.

    Good job!!!

    October 25, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. tor5

    He should have really ambushed Biden with a question like, “What books do you read?” Funny how the right-wing loves to ambush Democrats, but is outraged when a Republican gets any unscripted question. No problem for Joe though. He swats him away like the twit that he is.

    October 25, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Yep. Jason is just like that rat faced O'keefe or the dirtbag brietbart. He thinks he is funny but the joke is on him when suddenly his career is in the toilet. Just wait and see.

    October 25, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. ed

    So I guess if you are Joe Biden making all kinds of imfalmatory comments you want to make sure that the only press that gets access to you will ask softball questions like: what is your favorite color Joe? What a crock. If Joe can't defend his own idiotic comments he should not make them in the first place.

    October 25, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Typical opposition press: Don't have the stones to be open about their motives. They just can't help lying, can they?

    October 25, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. kingaire

    What is at issue is not that he did not represent himself correctly but that Biden got caught lying.

    October 25, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Anyone from a "conservative news organization" should be treated with all the respect a maggot can muster. Actally maggots have a place in our world.

    October 25, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. Ed 1

    What a cry baby you act like a bully and you can't stand when someone doesn't cow down to you.

    You are so lucky to be where you are not and not having to look for a job or work for your pay.

    October 25, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    Mattera's a creep, but the VP's office should probably just let this go.

    October 25, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |