This week, the Young America’s Foundation is hosting the National Conservative Student Conference.
ThinkProgress reported recently that YAF’s spokesman Jason Mattera (who describes himself as “the surprisingly fresh face of conservatism“) had denied a request by a representative of our sister organization, Campus Progress, to cover the event. From Mattera’s email:
Our event is open to real members of the press. You will not receive press credentials. My advice for you is to watch it on C-SPAN. If you have a problem with that decision, you can complain to the Foundation’s media department spokesman. Oh wait”¦that’s”¦me. :)
Mattera’s reaction was criticised around the web — including by fellow conservatives at National Review, who acknowledged that they had received press credentials for Campus Progress’ annual conference. Apparently Mattera didn’t care. Yesterday, he tracked down and ejected Conor Clarke, one of the lone progressive journalists covering the event for the Washington Monthly:
I was approached by YAF’s spokesman, Jason Mattera, on my way to see Newt Gingrich. “Who do you work for?” Mattera demanded, with a touch of petulance. “The Washington Monthly,” I told him. “Are you writing for anyone else?” “I’m blogging for Campus Progress.”
And that did the trick. “There’s the elevator,” Mattera pointed. “I can have one of my interns push the down button.” But it didn’t end there. What happened to the vaunted marketplace of ideas, I asked. The openness and exchange?
When Clarke asked why he was being ejected, Mattera responded, “Because I said so.” He then admitted, “If you were with The National Review, I’d get you a seat right up front and have one of my interns give you a nice massage, and grab you a cup of Sunkist.”
Read the rest of Clarke’s piece HERE.