Whenever I appear at a political event as part of the media, I make no effort to hide my identity or attempt to execute some hidden agenda. I wear my ID badge on my media tags and never hesitate to reveal my name and website when asked. Even at those events where I'm clearly not in agreement with the prevailing political philosophy, I play it straight and do my job.
Which is why this guy annoys me so much.
Apparently, some idiot received a press pass for the media platform at a town meeting in Ohio where Barack Obama spoke yesterday. The guy decided it was his duty to interrupt the presidential candidate while he was speaking and scream that he absolutely needed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance right NOW! Much to his credit, Barack Obama didn't try to shout the guy down; in fact, he led the entire gathering in the Pledge, which was very classy and served to diffuse what could have been an ugly incident.
Now, I don't have a problem with somebody on the floor of a public meeting wanting his opinion to be heard (although it's rude to shout like a maniac when someone else is talking), but I do strongly object to this guy's use of the media riser to make his point.
The media riser is a platform that's supposed to be used solely by people from the media (and political blogs these days) for covering the event, not for making political statements. By applying for and receiving media credentials, in effect the guy is saying that he is there for the purpose of reporting or photographing the event. If he insists on making a spectacle of himself, he should wait in line and get in with the rest of the private citizens, and not use false pretenses to give himself a very visible stage from which to spew his hidden agenda.
I use the word "agenda" because of what happened afterwards.
When the speeches ended, the other "honest" media on the platform asked him who he was and what motivated his outburst. The guy was very indignant and refused to identify himself or explain his motivation, except for some awkward rationalizations that public meetings should always start with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Well, a little digging by the Cleveland Plain Dealer (photo credit above) exposed why he was so reticent to identify himself. His name is John Quinn of Parma, OH and (surprise, surprise!) it turns out he's a registered REPUBLICAN!
Obviously, the GOP is so threatened by Obama's candidacy that they've taken to sending in covert operatives under the guise of media to try and precipitate some kind of embarrassing incident. This is just another example of the sort of dirty tricks the GOP has long been associated with. Back in 1972, Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President (C.R.E.E.P.) made dirty tricks part of the political lexicon once the Watergate hearings exposed their methods.
But the GOP of the 21st century is now taking dirty tricks to the level of an art form. They learned their lessons well from Karl Rove. Don't be surprised to hear about more and more of these kinds of things happening as we get closer to the election. If there's one thing I know about the GOP, it's the fact that they'll never pass up a chance for intellectual dishonesty if they think there's any advantage to be gained by it.
Here's the video; you watch it and decide on this guy's motives: