Sunday, October 19, 2008

One Man Vs. A Thousand Shadows

No faces - Image from V for Vendetta

At a recent Sarah Palin rally in Scranton, PA, the Times-Tribune reports that a person in the crowd shouted “kill him!” at the mention of Obama prior to Palin’s speech. Northern Pennsylvania’s later reported that none of the Secret Service agents in the crowd, nor Chris Hackett, the man speaking who mentioned Obama, heard the cry about killing Obama. This whole issue spiraled into Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank claiming that the Secret Service now conspires to prevent press access to crowds at rallies. The reasoning, according to, is that “negative things had been written in the past” and “the campaign wanted to avoid that possibility.” A letter written to Romanesko decries the Secret Service for admitting that they do restrict the press and thinking that it’s acceptable. Some comments posted raise the point of whether this story even had any validity from the start. Is this a party line being issued by the Secret Service or exaggeration by reporters? Does it even matter? Are a few reporters with names and identities helpless when they go up against a faceless entity like the Secret Service?

1 comment:

M. Dery said...

Really, really interesting. I trolled through the comment thread on the WaPo page and couldn't find any cited sources to verify Milbank's claim that the Secret Service is running interference between Palin and the press or the haters and the press. Why not do a little reporting and let us know what you discovered in a follow-up post? Ping Milbank. Look for other stories that make the same claim and ping their authors. Call the WaPo and leave Milbank a message. Say you're a reporter for the media criticism website WATCHDOGS AND LAPDOGS and you want to know how he knows that the SS has been directed to form a flying wedge around Palin or the hatemongers at her rallies. Running this fact to ground would be a real scoop.