Johns v. Stevens, The Throw-Down

tedstevens.jpgDid Joe Johns screw it up for everybody or was he merely doing his job? Is Ted Stevens a cry-baby or did he get ambushed unfairly?

Paul Kane reports in Roll Call today that the Alaska senator is filing a complaint with the Radio/TV Correspondents gallery over a piece that CNN’s Johns filed for Anderson Cooper last week, just as congressional correspondents launch a campaign for more Hill access.

As Kane explains, “In an incident that could have repercussions for TV journalists’ access to the chamber, Stevens is furious with CNN correspondent Joe Johns for an interview conducted outside the weekly GOP policy luncheons, but far away from the usual bank of TV cameras set up for such interviews next to the storied Ohio Clock.”

“This was not a formal interview request. This was an ambush in the
hallway,” Stevens spokeswoman Courtney Boone complained to Kane. “He was asked to go on camera and declined.”

Current Hill policy prohibits TV crews from roaming the halls with cameras. All reporters may move freely, but all cameras must stay at back exit of the chamber–and the cameras are only allowed in that spot with prior permission from the leadership, mostly for press conferences.

As Kane says, “It’s unclear what steps would be taken by either the gallery or the committee, or if there would be any punitive actions against Johns or
the network if his report is found to have broken chamber policy.”