What If Eric Holder Held A Photo Op and Nobody Came?

Time to go their separate ways?

At the moment the National Association of Black Journalists and I are having our issues.  Serious issues.  Right now we’re in the middle of a trial separation.   It’s touch and go whether it becomes a permanent one.

But every so often NABJ gives me reasons to reconsider.

Richard Prince reported in his Journalisms column:

Citing the stipulation that the meeting would be off the record, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association said Sunday that they would not attend Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.‘s Monday meeting with journalists of color to refine guidelines on dealing with journalists during leak investigations.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Unity: Journalists of Diversity, Inc., umbrella group have said they would attend.

The Native American Journalists Association, also citing the off-the-record stipulation, has said it would not.

Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of NABJ, said by email, “I asked the board that nabj will not have official reps. If individual board members do attend it will not be under nabj representation. Nabj will not attend in . . . any official capacity.” Lee added by telephone that NABJ believes in freedom of the press and is “not happy with what’s going on at the Justice Department,” as stated in its May 15 statement on the Justice Department’s secret seizure of office and personal telephone records of journalists at The Associated Press.

In 2010, Holder appeared as the honored guest at the NABJ convention.  He took no questions from the audience.   Nobody knew then but the past was prologue.  There has been a sneaky suspicion Holder and the Obama Administration hold the press in barely concealed contempt.   The Attorney General’s dismissive attitude would seem to confirm this.

Many major news outlets rejected Holder’s off the record stipulation as well they should.    With three of the major journalists of color organizations declining to participate in this farce as well,  the ineptitude of the Justice Department has blown up in their faces.

There are times when the profession as “journalist” trumps the racial identifier of “Black.”  This is one such time.

The National Association of Black Journalists should not take part in this off the record “meet and greet” with Attorney General Holder.  Everyone knows the A.G. is engaged in damage control after the chorus of disapproval that has descended upon the Justice Department for their investigations into the phone records of journalists.

If Holder is willing to try to explain and defend his department’s actions he should be willing to go on the record.  It’s one thing for the Obama Administration to say they believe in the freedom of the press.   Quite another to see them walk it like they talk it.

“Look, I said NO QUESTIONS and I meant it!:

NABJ is composed of journalists, not stenographers.  This is nothing but a glorified photo-op with Holder trying to look reasonable and solicitous to a room full of journalists who are writing down and recording NOTHING.   It’s pointless exercise in spin control.

NABJ can get their coffee and bagels elsewhere.  Like where real news is occurring.  I applaud the decision of President Gregory Lee and the board not to attend.

The Attorney General would serve his cause better by opening up and going on the record instead of continuing his distressing habit of only speaking when it serves his own purpose to do so.   This is an approach that has not served Holder well.   For five years President Obama has managed to avoid the sort of serious ethical and legal missteps that have blemished prior administrations.

If Holder, the nation’s highest law enforcement official, continues on his arrogant and autocratic path they may not make a sixth.

About these ads

8 responses

  1. What difference does it make if it’s on the record of not, whats important is truth & facts, they don’t change cause some lame stream media outlet can’t get ratings or make some bucks off advertisements by reporting what was said. Thats the problem with journalist in the 22nd century, if they can’t make a dollar, they don’t give a damn.

    I’d want to go to hear whet the Attorney General has to say. Period.

    Learn what National Security concerns mean.

    1. Are you a journalist, Jueseppi?

      If you are, maybe you already know this and it slipped your mind, but if you aren’t then please allow me to tell you why it makes a difference if the meeting with the A.G. is on or off the record.

      If it’s on the record whatever Holder says can be recorded, written down and repeated. If it’s off the record, nothing he says goes beyond the four walls. “Hey everybody, guess what? I killed Nicole and I like to rub it out to cheerleader pornos. Whattya think about that?”

      Interesting, but can’t use a word of it. Kind of a big-ass waste of time.

      Asking journalists to sit down for a talk but with the precondition they can’t report ANY of it is like telling a fireman to put out a blaze, but don’t use a hose or Peyton Manning to throw a touchdown pass, but he can’t use a football.

      And if that sounds absurd to you that’s how Holder’s stupidly arrogant demands sound to any journalist worthy of the name.

      1. (° ͜ʖ ͡°)

        ♥ ❀ ✿ Namaste ❀ ✿ ♥

  2. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    What if dumbass journalist & media organizations did their jobs and covered things for information’s sake?

    What difference does it make if it’s on the record of not, whats important is truth & facts, they don’t change cause some lame stream media outlet can’t get ratings or make some bucks off advertisements by reporting what was said. Thats the problem with journalist in the 22nd century, if they can’t make a dollar, they don’t give a damn.

    I’d want to go to hear whet the Attorney General has to say. Period.

    Learn what National Security concerns mean.

  3. Holder is interesting, and his role is one worthy of study. I agree with your premise, I likely wouldn’t go to an off the record meeting, but even if I did, if there were something of interest, what would prevent my publishing it? Would they dare send such a reporter to jail?

    He may have “recused” himself, but there’s no way he didn’t know about AP. He was in on the Fox investigation, also. I’m no fan of Fox, but there is the bigger issue here.

    I think in the first term and beginning of the second, Geithner was behind the lack of prosecutions of the big banks and wall street. Along with Summers and Rubin, Geithner held back on attacking the big banks, and had Obama stop Holder from prosecuting.

    Personally, I believe a few of Obama’s cabinet members did him serious damage over the years for “slow walking” many needed reforms, and Obama’s lack of leadership and management skills played into this.

    Good post

    1. You asked if you attended Holder’s off the record meet-and-greet and decided he said something worth writing down and publishing what would prevent you from publishing it?

      Probably nothing. But it’s unethical as hell and once you published something you were told was “off the record” there would be no reason for anyone to ever trust you again.

      Off-the-record material is often valuable and reporters may be eager to use it, so sources wishing to ensure the confidentiality of certain information are generally advised to discuss the “terms of use” before actually disclosing the information, if possible. Some journalists and news organizations have policies against accepting information “off the record” because they believe it interferes with their ability to report truthfully, or because they suspect it may be intended to mislead them or the public.

      I’ve heard plenty of juicy stuff, but it’s almost always been off-the-record or “not for attribution.” Washington is a high-profile and prestigious gig. Deliberately burn a source and you’d never work in that town again.

      1. Normally, I think that makes sense. But since this was such an obvious play at mending fences, providing fodder for their good intentions, I believe the risks might be minimal, particularly with such a distrusted source as DOL. But likely, not worth it.

  4. […] Jeff Winbush blog: What If Eric Holder Held A Photo Op and Nobody Came? […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,376 other followers

%d bloggers like this: