Here's a story I wanted to get in my article today on Christian Adams, but it interrupted the flow too much, so I'll put it in this blog post. Sometime more than a month into my covering the dismissal of the New Black Panther case, I decided to take the bull by the horns and call Adams directly at the Justice Department to see if he would talk on the record. As soon as I identified myself, he said, "You'll have to go to Schmaler for that."
It turns out that the chief spokesman for the Justice Department is Tracy Schmaler (I had spoken to an assistant press person before), and Adams was adamant that he couldn't talk to the press and that I must talk to Ms. Schmaler. So I called and asked for her by name. What a trip. I don't think I was on with her for more than about 20 seconds, still well within my typical, almost overly polite introduction of self and topic which I'm known for using upon first introduction, when she began absolutely berating me for the WashTimes coverage of the case and for daring to ask any more questions. Within another minute, probably less, "berating" had turned into "yelling." And I hadn't even asked a tough question yet!
Obviously, "go[ing] to Schmaler" would never be worth a thing. The only couple of other times I even tried, the experience was only slightly less unpleasant. And when I tried calling Adams back another time (still to no avail), I opened the conversation by telling him that him sending me to Schmaler had been such a waste of time that he shouldn't try to pawn me off on her again. He laughed heartily, before again politely declining my request for him to talk about the case.
So, a year later, when Christian Adams finally went public with his testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, I paid attention when he left the room and followed him as he and his lawyer left the building by a back exit. Indeed, I walked along beside him for blocks, all the way to a garage where he had his car parked, before he would say much of anything.
"Look," I said, "you're public now. Now there's no reason not to go into some more details." Adams smiled. It was a sort of mischievous smile, a very quick one, before adopting a poker face and saying:
"I'm sorry, but you'll have to go to Schmaler for that." Then he burst out laughing. And then, finally, he answered a few questions.....
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