Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Shut 'em up, shut 'em down

Here's what happens to anyone dares call themselves a "fairly liberal journalist":
Credentialed columnist denied access to Cheney speech

An award-winning syndicated columnist was denied access by unidentified security officials to Vice President Dick Cheney's speech Wednesday at Bloomsburg University, a public college in northeastern Pennsylvania, despite having received a media credential from the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign.

Upon arriving to pick up his credential at the university's gymnasium, where Cheney spoke, columnist Walter Brasch was told he could no longer attend the event. A journalism professor at Bloomsburg for the past 25 years, Brasch said he was approached by a group of men who refused to identify themselves, including who they worked for and why Brasch was suddenly no longer allowed to attend the event.

"I repeatedly said I was there as a reporter, not a protestor or anything else," Brasch, 59, said. "I had my notepad, and they could see that I was taking notes on what they were saying.

"Every time I asked who they were, they said, 'We don't have to tell you that.' " he added.

Of course, the Republicans excused their behavior by claiming it was Brasch who misbehaved:
Ann Womack, a spokesperson for the Cheney campaign, said Brasch was told to leave because he could not provide a valid press credential to verify his media affiliation, and because he violated a "security zone." Womack said Brasch parked his car in a restricted area and refused to move it.

Brasch, who writes for Spectrum Features Syndicate, said he was never asked to provide any verification of his identity. He said he introduced himself to the woman managing the press check-in table, she marked his name off on a list of those credentialed to attend the event, and wrote his name on a press pass. It was not until he already received the pass that he was told to leave, without explanation.

Next time, don't go writing that awful Bush-hating stuff. Got it?

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