Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Tickets, please

Here in the wilderness we wonder frequently about the "herd mentality" of the Washington press corps -- the stubborn insistence to say or write little else than what the competitor down the street is saying or writing.

The herd thundered to life in the coverage of George W. Bush's Fourth of July speech in Morgantown, W. Va.

Presidential Independence Day speeches are notoriously stupefying, and seldom does any news come out of them. In addition, the day usually is hot, the travel arrangements are hectic, and very few reporters really want to be standing out working in a hot, sunshiny day instead of barbecuing outside their Maryland or Virginia homes.

But the five media musketeers who covered the address -- the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Associated Press -- all missed yet another opportunity to educate and inform their readers how the White House sculpts Bush's appearance, to give everyone the impression that Americans of all shapes, sizes and persuasions love him. They stack the audience, and keep the riffraff -- the dissenters -- away, like no president has since Richard Nixon.

The 2,000 or so folks who cheered the president for his predictable remarks likening the war in Iraq to the American Revolution -- "The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!" -- were not your people off the streets. And none of them heckled, carried protest signs or wore clothing sporting anti-Bush remarks. The protesters, as with every Bush event, were roped off, about 100 yards away from the general audience.

Except for the Washington Times, which has been a right-wing house organ from the moment its presses began rolling; the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which is owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who donates freely and frequently to extreme right-wing causes; and the mainstream Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which should have known better, the papers covering the speech did note that the event was all-ticket. But only Ann E. Kornblut of the New York Times even mentioned how those tickets were made available:
About 4,300 tickets to the event were given out by the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors' Bureau, according to its executive director, Stacey Brodak, who said the occasion brought great pride to the small college town just across the Pennsylvania border. The crowd, a sea of patriotic gear and military uniforms, gathered inside the campus green at West Virginia University for hours before the president arrived. (Read the entire article here.)
Still, Kornblut missed the point. Reading her prose implies that anyone who wanted to attend the speech could simply stop in to the Morgantown CVB, pick up a ticket and just show up. Uhhh . . . not quite.

As Dave Gustafson wrote in the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, the White House would vet all applicants:
Jack Thompson of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau said his office would take contact information from people who want free tickets to see Bush. The White House will choose about 5,000 people from that list by 1 p.m. today.

People can then call or stop by the office at 201 South High St. between 1 and 5 p.m. today and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday to see if they got tickets. (Read the entire article here.)

So, presumably, the White House would peruse the applicants, weed out those who were terrorists, registered sex offenders and other potential dangers to the president. Like anyone who wasn't a registered Republican? We'll never know here in the wilderness, because our media watchdogs didn't tell us.


  • At 4:06 AM, Blogger irisclara said…

    Plus we only had about a three hour window between the announcement that tickets were available till they weren't anymore. If you didn't call before 10 am, and your name wasn't Warner, take a hike.

  • At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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  • At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

    I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

    Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

    Semper Fi!

    Bill Adams


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