Covering the Republican Candidate National Security Debate
Stories about and from the coverage
Live from the Daughters of the American Revolution and sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, I was on assignment to cover the news for Politisite at the direction of my Editor, Albert Milliron. Some innovations in journalism may have resulted from this, though readers will have to be the judges.
Let me describe the assignment experience.
First, it was a very rainy day in Washington DC. That is of concern to me as water is not friendly to my cochlear implant control device and mini microphone. I watch for lightening too as I have this antenna buried in my head. I decided to take a cab because security was tight in the vicinity with all of those candidates showing up.
I left my coat behind and took with me a small portable umbrella and my bag with a computer and Nikon camera as well as a sketchbook and notepad. You have to keep a small logistics footprint going into these things because you have to juggle through security like at the airport.
Rain was coming down in sheets when I arrived at about 1:30 PM for 2:00 PM check-in to pick up my media credentials from CNN.
The CNN security people had erected a portable tent like you use in your back yard to keep people dry while they waited outside the building for the check-in to open. They said I could sit down if I wished as I was one of the first to arrive, though all of the chairs had been sitting in the rain and were covered with water. I can stand for 30 minutes with the logistics guys all lined up next to the trailers smoking cigarettes.
There were flash appearances of CNN supervision directing camera men to set up their lights in a separate area where celebrities and participants might enter for broadcast sound bites, etc.
There is always some segregation between broadcast journalists and writers of which I was classified. If Albert Milliron had been with me, we would have been broadcasters as he is a radio personality. I have broadcast credentials from my ancient past, though I am just a columnist now.
I got into the 2 PM rush toward the door for check in with a bunch of camera men hauling lots of gear. I made it a table where they found my name on the list and I was good to go. I passed through security and then looked for the SPIN ROOM or PRESS ROOM.
A nice woman snagged me and asked where I wanted to go. I explained I was looking for my badge.
“Oh, you came in the wrong door. You need to go to the other PRESS FILE CHECK-IN,” she said. Then she asked me to follow her as she tried to navigate to the right place. She pointed and said to go down the hall until ends and you will find it.
Now, I am vulnerable because I am not wearing any identification and this place is surrounded by Secret Service Security. Then, a door opened and out popped Wolf Blitzer. I think he asked what I was doing there, though I could not hear exactly.
Then, the woman appeared and said I could not go any further and would have to go back into the rain storm and down the street to another entrance. I did that quickly with my little umbrella and got into another line where they found me and gave to me my badge credential.
At this point I am beginning to wonder where in this lofty structure at the DAR are two things: 1) the press room and 2) the men’s room.
I found the press room and a place at a table with Politisite/Iron Mill Press name on it and settled in next to The Atlantic. Among the first few to arrive, I surveyed the room that featured a massively large monitor and smaller ones with CNN blaring.
My first concern is that even though I am hearing, there is no “closed caption.” That could be a handicap later if people start talking in the room. Journalists are respectful and they really aren’t disruptive to one another.
I walked with my camera to look out windows to see if I could see where candidates would arrive below.
Then, I asked about the location of the men’s room. I was told by one of the many CNN handlers that it was downstairs at the end of a very long hall with a zig and zag at the end. I wandered down there observing very large portraits of former women who were past presidents of the DAR.
On my way back I was startled by one imposing portrait as the woman, Mrs. Lammers, looked exactly like Donald Rumsfeld. I looked around on the floor and observed that this is the HQ for the DAR.
My Grandmothers are descendents of the Revolutionaries and I was day dreaming – Daughters of the American Revolution and then appearing before me was something called “Period Room.” That figures, I thought with a chuckle.
Back upstairs I worked on story material and watched CNN all day.
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Columbia, South Carolina, United States