Tiberi Seeks to Silence the “Free” Press

“I, Pat Tiberi, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Amendment I”Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

As the publisher of The Liberty Voice, I had made preparations to record the September 29th public debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, The Delaware Gazette and the Farm Bureau.  This forum was held in a publicly-funded local school for local, state and federal candidates for public office. As I am not able to write every word live, it was necessary that I record the event so that I could accurately transcribe what was said at a later time.

This was an especially important service to perform, as “our Congressman” Pat Tiberi has repeatedly refused to answer our questions concerning his voting record which illustrates his gross and repeated violations of the US Constitution.

Lately, I have recorded similar debates sponsored by two of the above-mentioned organizations without incident, so what changed?

Incumbent Pat Tiberi was there.

In the past four debates–all of which had invited “our Congressman” to come, he never bothered to make an appearance. However, it was anticipated that this debate would be widely-attended, so there was great pressure for Tiberi to make a showing. Judging by what happened later in the evening, as a condition for Tiberi’s long-awaited participation in the debate and unbeknownst to me, Tiberi pressured the sponsoring groups to forbid the use of any recording devises–without exception granted even to the press.

As I was setting up my equipment before the debate began, I was asked to put my video recording devise away, as it was a rule that all participants had agreed to in advance. When I challenged this, the organizers–in order to prevent “making a scene” –which most definitely did make a scene, reluctantly agreed that I could record.

And I did. However, throughout the evening I was repeatedly admonished from the podium for not following the “rules” by Larry Cline, the moderator of the event. He specifically said that “this was not a government building,” thus the implication was that any protection of the First Amendment was a mere triviality. It was as if wanting to record and accurately report the proceedings was somehow an outrageous affront to decency. I was completely humiliated by this ‘unbiased’ moderator for standing up for what I felt was my right (and duty) to record what was said.

Further, this is the mission statement of the League of Women Voters:

The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

As someone who was there to transcribe the words of candidates for public office in order to increase the public’s understanding of major public policy issues in order to influence voters through education and encourage informed participation in our election process, I can see why the League of Women Voters (with a male spokesperson–again) would feel the need to demonize my objectives.

I also found it ironic that while local candidates for county judge gave their campaign pitches–promising to defend the Constitution, they failed to address the situation at hand. Many of them nervously glanced my way, as if dumbstruck at what to do.  All of them proceeded to say and do nothing, as if the elephant in the room–the burning Constitution–would be defended at all costs when they would be elected to office, but in the meantime, the Constitution would just have to burn.

Finally, at the end of the program when the federal congressional candidates were introduced, Democratic challenger David Robinson was the only one to appear. Tiberi on the other hand, remained in the hallway and sent word to the organizers reminding them they had promised to prohibit the use of any recording devises. As a result, I was told from the podium that I must either put away my recording equipment or I would be asked to leave the room. I was informed that without my compliance to these evidently perfectly reasonable rules, Pat Tiberi would leave without addressing his constituents–as if it was my fault he was afraid of what he might say!

MY OWN PUBLIC OFFICIAL! I helped bring him to office!  I guess a $250 campaign contribution just doesn’t have the influence that other sized contributions have.

In my disbelief at the ridiculousness of the moment, I (foolishly?) relented, put my video-recorder away, and helplessly watched as Tiberi acted shocked–shocked! that Robinson would insinuate that over the past eight years, he had any role whatsoever in our current economic crisis. Tiberi said in response, “There you go again!” as if he had ever met with Robinson (who makes him look, shall we say, less smart). Tiberi alleged it was ‘those Democrats’ (like Robinson!) who were to blame.  He also blamed “entitlements” for our economic woes.

Yeah, it probably didn’t have anything to do with the war.  It was those darned kids who just think they need health care.  That “entitlement” alone would prevent the US military juggernaut from spending more than every other nation on earth.

Combined.

Oh yeah.  That’s right.  It wouldn’t.

Not even close.

Truth be told, had I been able to record the event I may have been tempted to post video showing the difficulty that Tiberi seemed to experience at opening a bottle of water.

Twice.

In Tiberi’s defense, that is much more complicated than choosing between yeah and neh.

[Eanie, meanie, yes or no…]

So while I had planned to transcribe what was said this evening, I can only report that I was, in effect, forbidden to do that.  This is particularly disturbing for me because one of the rules that I’ve given to those who wished to report for The Liberty Voice is the journalist must act as a recorder primarily and thus must never be a part of his/her own story.  Unfortunately, the only part of the story that I can relate is what I myself experienced.

Of course, had I been allowed to do my job, I probably would have used his words to illustrate how he says one thing here at home, but votes a completely different way back in Washington DC.

On the other hand, we know that career politicians’ words don’t mean very much and actions speak louder than words.  The question is, if Pat Tiberi would act to abridge the freedom of the press here at home, can he really be trusted to defend it when he goes back to Washington DC?  Furthermore, if Tiberi won’t honor the role of the free press to protect our republic by holding our public officials (like him!) accountable, can he be trusted to defend any of our Constitutional protections?

After studying his voting record and living through that mockery of democratic exercise, my answer is an unwavering no.

Long live the free and independent press–that is, unless you are so unfortunate to live in “our Congressman” Pat Tiberi’s twelfth Congressional District in the State of Ohio.

sherry clark [sc] is the publisher and editor of the monthly newspaper, The Liberty Voice. After nearly one year of this effort, over 100,000 copies have been distributed. Clark is a direct descendant of John Beckley, the first Librarian of the Library of Congress as appointed by then-President Thomas Jefferson. Beckley was also the first Clerk of the House of Representatives following his dedicated work at the Constitutional Convention–nominated to this post by the Father of the Constitution James Madison. Neville Craig, founder and editor of the Pittsburg Gazette (now known as the Pittsburg Post-Gazette) is also her (really) great grandfather. Born on the same day as John F. Kennedy and Patrick Henry some say that clark “gets it honest” as she seeks to defend the United States Constitution through the power of the free and [fiercely] independent press.

2 Comments

  1. sherry

    September 30, 2008 at 11:35 am

    comment sent via e-mail:

    I was there and saw the Tiberi mess. Wish you would have demanded to keep the video running and let them shut down the “forum”. I would have applauded your courage. The LWV has lost sight of its purpose AND I pay for that school building.

    Tiberi will trample our rights at the drop of a hat and does not deserve to be reelected.

    Keep up the good work. I wish you weren’t on such an island.

  2. sherry

    October 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Here is what others are saying:

    * Community Blogs at progressohio linked here saying, “Thelibertyvoice.com. “I, Pat Tiberi, do solemnly s …”
    * Anti-Positivist linked here saying, “The folks over at The Liberty Voice employ a mutat …”
    * Kelley Bell’s FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS linked here saying, “{{wPatrick Tiberi}}, member of the United Sta… I …”
    * Blue Bexley linked here saying, “I have no idea what to make of this story. The Lib …”
    * Delaware County Political Reporter linked here saying, “If the League of Women Voters Doesn’t Believe in a …”

    So far 80% seem to support the freedom of the press. The one blogger who felt we had “no ethics” in asserting First Amendment protections, supported his view saying that since the event was sponsored by private entities, it was a private event–despite it being billed as a public event. That is confusing to me.

    I can only wonder why anyone who loves liberty, as I believe the Anti-positivist does, would take such a position? What would that position be able to do to empower and advance liberty? Also the omission in his report of the fact that it was Tiberi who insisted on the rule forbidding me from recording the event made the whole post seem biased.

    I would imagine that our local Delaware Gazette who provides our community with an incalculable service, is horrified at being the sponsor of an event that would stifle the free and independent press. Tiberi put them in a very difficult position which would have caused them to either defend a competitor (if I were to compliment my tiny paper) against the position taken by their fellow sponsors, or watch as their own protection suffered a dangerous precedent if not properly defended.

    I think Andrew Tobias did an excellent job in reporting on the candidates positions and I am grateful that he (and his editors I would suppose) decided to keep the article focused on the mission of the evening–to inform the electorate of candidate positions. On the other hand, if Tiberi would stifle the free and independent press as he did on September 29, then the Gazette should hold him accountable to that position, as that would also inform the electorate on an issue that is important to the defense of our republic and therefore should be important to their readers.

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