Yesterday I covered the Sarah Palin rally in Findlay, Ohio. It's been a while since I've covered a big Republican event, but it didn't take long for me to remember how some of the rank and file GOP treat local media. I remember covering the GOP victory party in 2004 in downtown Toledo. Some smart guy walked up to me as I was setting my camera up and told me that he only watches FOX News Channel because they're fair and balanced. Rant to follow.
I digress. As I moved through the metal detectors I hear from behind, "Oh look, it's the regular liberal media." Good for you skippy, you saw Saturday Night Live last weekend.
Before the governor spoke, a number of former and current GOP elected officials spoke. Former Attny. General Betty Montgomery, Senator George Voinovich, and Attny. General candidate Mike Crites all referenced the "Liberal Media" in one way or another. Montgomery referenced us with, "Hollywood and the liberal media."
Thank you Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. I get it. Some of the media out there leans to the left. We all know it now. I don't disagree.
The final straw was when I went to buy a button for my dad after the rally. I was still wearing my photographer's vest and I had my ABC media ID around my neck. "Are you going to try to be fair to us for a change? It might be tough for you being part of the liberal media," the lady selling the buttons said to me. I'd had it. I was going to give her my money for something she was selling and that's how I was greeted. After I talked to her for a few minutes, she told me she was sorry and never thought about it that way.
Here's part of what I told her:
I'm sick of being harassed at these events because I work in news. You have no idea where I or the rest of my colleagues stand politically. You might be surprised. If you want to be pissed off at somebody, be pissed off at those photographers and reporters go running into the events minutes before the candidate takes the stage. Those are your national media and traveling press. Don't take your frustrations out on the local media photographers and reporters. When was the last time you saw a hit piece done on either candidate by a local television station. You haven't because we don't do it. In fact, I think we bend over too far so as not to be perceived as biased one way or another. The brass here is constantly sending out emails reminding us that, "We must present an image of impartiality." We locals are not to be happy for those who won, nor are we to be sympathetic to those who lost. When covering a candidate's visit, a local station's coverage will go something like this...
1. This candidate came to town.
2. This is what the candidate had to say.
3. This is what people who saw the event thought of what he/she had to say.
Does the liberal media exist? You know the answer. And if your answer is "yes," just remember not to take it out on your local guys.
Thanks for watching.