Biden Beach Party

Friday, June 11, 2010


Vice President Joe Biden threw a beach-themed party for members of the Washington press corps last weekend. Some press critics took offense to the party, arguing that it symbolizes an overly cozy relationship between the White House and reporters. CNN reporter Ed Henry was at the party and he says it's no big whoop.

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Comments [26]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Sounds like the parties MMS regulators and promoters (same job) had with oil industry prostitutes... uh, representatives out at that Texas office.

Jun. 18 2010 09:09 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Substitute 'Ed Henry' with 'Major Garrett' and 'CNN' with 'Fox News' and see how the story sounds. It's not as though CNN is greatly trusted by both sides of the aisle, rather than just the administration side. Major gaffe, providing more grim amusement for tough critics of partisan news media framing and vocabulary.

Jun. 18 2010 08:46 AM
GHM from Canandaigua, NY

Was Ed Henry this cozy with the Bush White House? Is that why Bush never got hardball questions from him and the others for 8 torturous years, pun intended? Is that why Helen Thomas lost her front row seat during that time because she DID ask tough questions? And that fake reporter, Jeff Gannon, was he REALLY cozy with Karl and the gang so he could ask the tough "questions" while wearing a made-up Press credential?

Ed, step back and get back. Report for and to the people. Would SOMEONE please do their job? The people outside your beltway fairyland really want this.

Jun. 18 2010 08:34 AM
Gabe Harris from Boston

Jan, I would demand a doughnut and coffee.

Jun. 17 2010 02:03 PM
Jan Baker from Chicago, USA

You have to be brave to report the news on important and powerful. To stand aloof from the party must be as uncomfortable as standing aloof from the king's court. The court is where all the action is happening. It's where all the jobs are being brokered, as one commenter pointed out. Access is power. Clearly the problem is not just with reporters. You also have to be brave to head an agency that regulates or inspects the enterprises of the rich and the powerful, as in oil rigs or mines, or hospitals or universities, for that matter. You have to be extremely brave to be the actual inspector whose boss doesn't want to hear bad news. How do we get that kind of bravery? How is it grown? Do our homes and schools regularly nurture brave men and women? Our television shows? Our music? It's so easy to criticize this reporter--what of ourselves, never saying what we think, allowing corruption to pass before our own eyes and turning the other way. Listen, most of us are for sale for a doughnut. He at least is sporting with kings. I'm not pushing that old saying, take out the mote from your own eye before you look for the splinter in another's, but just saying how really difficult it is to resist power. Bravery is not a natural response to events; it takes a certain kind of society, one that both models and demands virtue and discipline. Even then you're lucky to get a few strong, uncorruptable leaders. And we aren't that society, at least not anymore. Ed Henry is our new native son. A martyr he will not be.

Jun. 16 2010 09:33 PM
Gabe Harris from Boston

Never Forget. NPR promoted the Iraq war just as the NYT and Washington Post did. It was blatant propaganda. TV news had already lost credibility, but after 2002 NPR, NYT and Washington Post became just as discredited.

Jun. 16 2010 06:45 PM
Gabe Harris from Boston

That was hilarious. Ed Henry thinks Biden and Rahm just want to get to know him, maybe buy him a milk shake and hold his hand while showing him where the beach towels are. I'm sure there are never any hints like "you play ball Ed Henry and we can get you a sweet PR job for Kissinger associates".

The MSM is a joke and it has been for a few years now. No intelligent person counts on TV or even radio for news anymore. The elite are panicked because a growing percentage doesn't believe their propaganda any more. Where were the investigative reports coming from Spain last week on the Bilderberg meetings. Ten years ago the MSM said the group didn't even exist, now they admit they exist and just say they don't matter. Real reporters ask questions that break taboos and bother the powerful. The MSM ask questions that promote profitable wars and taxes.

Kick the incumbents out and please NO BAILOUTS FOR THE MSM!

Jun. 16 2010 06:03 PM
Sandor from Chicago.

As a physician, I would never become romantically involved with a patient because I could lose my objectivity and WOULDN'T KNOW IT.

Jun. 15 2010 11:01 PM
Richard Paddock from NC

I am reminded of a comment I read recently, attributed to an anonymous hard-bitten "typical" reporter of the old school: If more than two people showed up at his/her funeral, the reporter's life had been a failure.

Ed Henry: massive fail.

Jun. 15 2010 09:09 PM

Joe Biden doesn't want to get to know Ed Henry. He isn't paying for the party, the DNC paid for it. Gee, what possible motivation could the political arm of the Democratic party have for sponsoring a chance for their pols to "get to know" the journalists who are covering them?

Jun. 15 2010 04:48 PM

Ed Henry has got to be kidding. "Maybe they wanna actually get to know us as people sometimes." And he's the Senior Correspondent at CNN!!!

Ed, honey, that's the problem. You're not supposed to friendly and cozy with them. Don't you understand the basics of journalism?

I guess this is why I don't watch TV news anymore. Except for NPR, of course.

Jun. 15 2010 03:11 PM
rarian rakista from PDX, OR

The 4th estate has been hob-nobing with the lord and masters of the universe long enough, they need to be pulled out of the high windows of the palace and back unto the filthy streets below. Stop feigning understanding/allegiance/sympathy/empathy with the commoners plight when your shit is full of undigested bits of gold flakes and caviar.

Jun. 15 2010 03:56 AM

If you will allow certain stipulations of fact, Ed Henry's argument holds true. 1. The public is generally trustful of the mainstream media. 2. There is no perception among a large segment of the public that CNN's coverage is slanted toward the current administration. 3. Members of the media are immune to the trappings, flattering and influence of personal access to great power. There, no problem.

Jun. 14 2010 05:57 PM

Ed Henry's interview was so frustrating. If getting all cozy and pally with the VP & SCOTUS doesn't explain why reporters fail to ask tough questions when they're called for, then WHAT DOES? Because that is exactly what is going on, and Mr. Henry seems to be in denial about the media's basic failure on that front.

Jun. 14 2010 04:48 PM
gil mann

Dan, I can't imagine this is how Greenwald would want you to get his name out. Plus they've had him on, I think.

Anyway, my favorite part was when Ed Henry was like "uh... maybe they want to get to know us as people?" Like OTM's a big jerk for not even considering that.

Good job, Brooke. Very telling stuff.

p.s. bring the duet back please

Jun. 13 2010 11:45 PM
Potomacker from Nanjing, PRC

How can we ever expect stenographers like Ed Henry to hold elected officials accountable for their words and actions when their own colleagues like, presumably. Ms. Gladstone was at pains to do? Her harshest criticism was that Henry and his ilk were victims of Stockholm syndrome, yet we should be clear that the true victims of this condition, if the analogy is even valid, are the citizens of the nation who now watch helplessly as the seat formally reserved for Helen Thomas is now fought over by selfflattering DC villagers.
It's no wonder that nobody in the chattering class has commented that while the US is engaged in two foreign wars, one the longest of its history, members of the ruling class and the fourth estate play at shooting one another.

Jun. 13 2010 10:25 PM
Keith Cezat from Plymouth MI

Mr. Henry clearly does not "get it". He retreated to false 'strawman' arguments and avoided the real issue: that even the 'appearance' or 'perception' of favoritism or "going easy" on his Administration pals renders *all* of his reporting suspect. It is *not* the responsibility of the reader or listener to ferret out the specific incidents of bad reporting. If Mr. Henry wishes to attend beach parties then he needs to move to the gossip pages.

Jun. 13 2010 09:09 PM

As a reporter, Mr Henry should avoid any appearance of impropriety. The public will never know whether Mr. Henry has deliberately overlooked Obama administration indiscretions, but his appearances at presidential social functions will make CNN's product forever suspect.

Jun. 13 2010 07:10 PM

As a reporter, Mr Henry should avoid any appearance of impropriety. The public will never know whether Mr. Henry has deliberately overlooked Obama administration indiscretions, but his appearances at presidential social functions will make CNN's product forever suspect.

Jun. 13 2010 07:10 PM
Erich Riesenberg

Ed Henry kept making straw arguments, stating these relationship do not make it impossible to perform real reporting.

He repeatedly failed to answer the questions or even demonstrate he understood them, and I am surprised a professional reporter could do so poorly.

Jun. 13 2010 06:58 PM
Ana Landis Velazquez from Brooklyn, NY

No wonder CNN is failing. This interview was like talking to a freshman who just joined the debate team. Unbelievable, but good job OTM for making us aware of Ed Henry and his inability to separate himself from the politicians he is supposed to be keeping on their toes!

Jun. 13 2010 02:26 PM
Lichanos from

I was amazed at how much Henry simply DID NOT GET IT! Of course, everything he said was true: going to a party or two doesn't automatically turn you into a mouthpiece of the administration. THAT'S NOT THE POINT!! Going to a lot of those parties will, over time, and maybe not much time, make you feel comfortable, maybe too comfortable, and well disposed to the party giver. That's why people give parties!

It's not evil; it's just part of human beings' social nature. But on the part of Mr. Henry, it's just plain stupid, and his reply shows that he knows it. He is willing himself to think what he knows is not so, and the cognitive dissonance is palpable.

Jun. 13 2010 12:00 PM
Robert from NYC

Of course Ed Henry doesn't think what he/they did isn't cozy, these folks are so ingrained with these folks but he's wrong. Plain and simple, he's wrong.
It looks bad and it is bad. First of all he's with CNN and they are the voice of the administration. The biggest suck-up being Mr Blitzer. Ed Henry is wrong... WRONG.

Jun. 13 2010 10:37 AM
Bill W. from Boston

I always thought Ed Henry did a great job with his Congressional reporting, but I'm afraid I don't find Ed's rationalization on this topic entirely persuasive.

If you're going to have some reporters palsy-walsy with the people running the outfits that they have to cover, then you have to balance the pals with the likes of Helen Thomases, I.F. Stone, A.J. Liebling ("freedom of the press belongs to he who owns the press," or something like that, wrote he).

As in "balance" -- an equal weight of pals on one side of the balance beam and and = weight of saddle-burrs on the other. When you get friendly with sentient sources (official documents don't speak very well on camera), you're just not going to incredibly hard on them, no matter what Ed Henry says. (He just hasn't lived long enough, I'd say, to find himself in enough binds to know.)

News outfits should probably have a team of "good guys" (the pals) for "daily coverage," and "bad guys" to do the "hard" stuff.

Jun. 12 2010 02:24 PM
alex from Brooklyn

How many substantive and extended conversations -- the kind one might have over the the course of a dinner with a very small group -- did Mr. Henry have with Mr. Biden or any other administration officials at this party?

How about any other members of the media? Did they have substantive and extended conversations with the administration?

Or might the constant looming the threat of super soaking prevent that?

Jun. 12 2010 10:41 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn, NY

So if Ed Henry's ability to report is not compromised by brown-nosing events with VP Biden, what explains his and others' revoltingly pallid coverage of the US government and policy.

I don't think Ed Henry lost all scruples. I don't think he ever had any.

Jun. 12 2010 07:36 AM

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