We didn’t “sneak in” to Sarah Palin’s speech

First: This blogpost is not about politics.

Second: Contrary to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s warning to the standing-room-only crowd at this afternoon’s Teen Challenge fundraiser in Missoula, the media did not “sneak in” to her speech. We were not there as “moles,” in her words.

Third: I only mention this because that sort of talk – “Be careful. There may be some media that sneaked into the room.” – is intended to create distrust of the professional journalists in this city and all across the country who take their jobs very seriously and work hard to accurately and fairly report the news.

Fourth: So here is how the Missoulian and other media came to attend Sarah Palin’s talk.

Months ago, when the fundraiser was announced, we let the folks at Teen Challenge know we wanted to cover the former governor’s speech. Teen Challenge established guidelines for how many reporters and photographers could attend, and this newspaper and other media submitted the names and credentials of the journalists who would be representing us.

Reporter Betsy Cohen and photographer Linda Thompson were identified as the Missoulian’s representatives, and were there on Sunday to document Palin’s speech.

Last week, they picked up a credential packet from Teen Challenge. They showed I.D. to pick up the packet. They were given green wristbands and were told to put them on their left wrists. They checked in at the door on Sunday, showed their wristbands and were placed in one corner of the room – and told not to move.

They were very visible, very public, very respectful and professional.

They didn’t sneak in or out. They smiled. They thanked their hosts. And they are back at the office now writing a story and processing photos and video, for posting later tonight on Missoulian.com and publication in Monday’s Missoulian.

For all to see and hear and read.

Sherry Devlin

68 thoughts on “We didn’t “sneak in” to Sarah Palin’s speech”

  1. Why use green wristbands to identify journalists ?
    Large yellow stars on their jackets would be easier
    to see. And more to point to what the right-wing
    have in mind for the American people.

  2. “How’s that hope and change workin’ out for ya?”

    Boy, that’s getting tiresome. But, short answer? Pretty good, actually. Considering that the guy took office in the midst of the worst economic free-fall since the 1930’s, we seem to have bottomed out without the country collapsing into another depression. It might actually have turned out better if the stimulus package had been a bit more aggressive, but politics is more often than not the art of the possible, and the deal that got struck was probably the best that could reasonably have been expected. We’ve been talking about health care reform since the Truman Administration, and this guy finally got something done about it – a piece of legislation significantly more conservative and scaled back than even Richard Nixon once proposed, and identical in nearly all respects with the bill signed into law amid great fanfare by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. For which, of course, the Palinites and the Gingrichites and the Beck-ies and the Faux News people call the man a Commie/Socialist/Fascist blah, blah, blah. In January 2009, we were up to our eyeballs in two unwinnable wars half a world away. In less than two years, we’ve managed to cross a certain threshold in Iraq in an effort to get out of there SOMEDAY. Worldwide, we have captured and/or killed more terrorist leaders, Al Qaeda and otherwise, in the past two years than the Bushies did in the previous 5 or 6. At home, no one has had his or her taxes raised. NO. ONE. We have some new laws in place designed to protect the middle class from being victimized by the casino gamblers on Wall Street. And we have two new Supreme Court Justices who appear to be highly intelligent, slightly left-of-center jurists who might have some success in countering the manic rightward tilt of Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, et al.

    Could it be better? Well, yeah. It might have helped, first of all, if the “loyal” opposition had shown some sign of being even remotely capable of having an adult conversation about something serious. It might have helped if the economy hadn’t been trashed even worse than the best and the brightest thought it had been wrecked – by a decade’s worth of Republican incompetence and mismanagement. And it might have helped if we hadn’t been brought to the brink of financial and political collapse by two ill-advised, monstrously expensive wars started by – you guessed it – a Republican President, under, frankly, false pretenses. But you play with the cards you are dealt, and all things considered, I think President Obama has done pretty darn well.

    But you go ahead and vote Republican, wes jh. If you enjoyed 2001-2009, you’ll certainly enjoy a Congress controlled by a bunch of meatheads all over again. (By the way, did you know that he weren’t born inna Yoonited States?)

  3. As an American who Sarah Palin does not speak for I am so appalled by her hate speak. As usual she speaks of fear and mistrust. We must stop listening to these people. I do not care if you choose to vote republican but do so out of what you feel is best for the country not because you have a closed mind and are worried about the GOP monsters under the bed. Get a grip I am sick of the fear mongering. Geez people wake up this is America we are stronger than they give us credit for!!

  4. Can’t have that press sneaking in and asking those hard-to-answer “gotcha” questions like “Hello how are you today Mrs. Palin?”

  5. Why even cover Palin at all. If the press would stop following her around like puppy dogs she would go away. She is nothing more than a media hound.

  6. What is she afraid of?
    That they will accurately report what she says? The word salad?
    Her paranoia is up there with beck’s

  7. Having spent the past 15 years as a journalist myself, I find the state of 24/7 TV “news” to be quite embarrassing. For one, it allows a network like Fox to blatantly support one political party and still call itself a news organization…and millions of uncritical thinkers believe it. Two, it allows a grifter like Sarah Palin to build an entire political career on lies and exaggerations, with very little accountability for her words. FINALLY, I’m so happy to hear a real journalist step forward and set the record straight. No matter what Fox and Palin say about the media for their own gain, there are many, many journalists who continue to approach their jobs with great integrity. Bravo to them!

  8. they show a lot of ingenuity and creativity on letting their followers know what they think, without saying it in so many words.

    Dog whistle.
    Perfect fit for their barking mad followers.

  9. Interestingly enough, Sarah Palin proceeded to sign autographs while the speaker was leading a prayer. That’s…tacky at best.

    Wasilla, Alaska; 9/11/10

    During the prayer, ten or fifteen people got up from their seats and crowded around for autographs, which Palin signed. She also spoke to admirers and posed for photographs while the program continued. Most people stayed in their seats and joined the prayer.

    In addition:

    if there’s going to be some big national announcement, I’m going to do it where it is most worthy. I’m going to do something big. Even bigger than Glenn Beck. It’s going to happen on the Bob & Mark Show.”

    The Bob and Mark Show? The nation scratches its collective head.

    The Bob and Mark Show is a local radio morning program here in Anchorage, on KWHL 106.5-FM. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don’t want to spend a thousand words on Bob and/or Mark, so if you’re interested, you can check out the delightful slideshow on the station’s website. You might want to clear the room of impressionable children.

    Yes, these are the same Bob and Mark that recently were ordered to attend sensitivity training because of their disparaging comments about Alaska Natives.

    Classy venue.

  10. The former half-term Governor hates the press because they have exposed her as the ignoramus that she is. But she is right about them being “lamestream”, because if they were not, she would not be getting all the attention from them that she gets, but does not deserve.

  11. I grew up in Missoula and lived in Alaska for 35 years. I also know the Palin family well. She is a fraud and left the town of Wasilla with a debt of 20 Million and quit as our governor. She is a fraud and does not have a clue on world, state, or city dynamics. She is loyal to herself and the need for money and nothing else. You are a fool to have any faith in her.

  12. “Times have changed, and a natural politician like Palin can go forward without the news media’s role as gatekeeper for the Ruling Class.”

    OH DEAR Section 9

    The only reason that palitudinous Palin can go foward is to protect herself from being asked any questions, by media or Joe Schmo. Otherwise EVERYONE, and not just us “liberal elites, will know that the Empress has no clothes.

  13. I lived in Missoula for four of my childhood years and for the last nearly 30 years have lived in Wasilla, Alaska. I am a professional photojournalist whose beat consists of the entire state of Alaska and, most prominently, northern Alaska. I also keep a blog based in large part on my home town of Wasilla. I have pretty much stayed away from the circus that surrounds Sarah Palin, as that is a world that I do not care to live in.

    Still, I recognized that as I keep a blog with the word “Wasilla” in the title, at some point I had to do some coverage of something that she was involved in. So I chose her Wasilla book signing, held last December. I did so in the very manner that she accused the Missoula Editor of doing – I sneaked in as a “mole.” I knew there was no other way that I would succeed. If you read the post that I made on that event, you will see that I was correct:


    And if you want to see actual pictures of Russia, taken from Alaska, including from a living room window, check out this post:


    Also, I am doing a photo essay on Missoula (stalled at the moment) so one day you will be able to find it in my blog as well.

  14. Thank you Sherry for your immediate, concise and factual response to Sarah Palin’s “business as usual” hit against “the press”.

    Reporters are like anyone else with a job to do. Most reporters are honest and most reporters make an effort to report facts.

    Sarah’s continuing hateful disparagement of regular press at every possible opportunity is disgusting.

    Sherry, once again, thank you.

  15. As a former Missoula resident (12 years-in the 60’s and 70’s) it is interesting to me to see the apparent shift to the left in the blogs that have been posted. Sarah Palin has been a lightning rod for the left to vent their hatred. I did not see the original quote in Ms. Devlin’s blog about the “moles”, etc., so can’t judge one way or the other. But the general tone of the piece places Ms. Devlin squarely with most of the liberal press. And apparently she has a following of lefties. What I see are the same vicious attacks with no facts to back them up. Just because a person sits at a computer keyboard and posts a blog does not make a statement factual. With regard to Glenn Beck, I question whether those who are critical of him have ever spent the time to watch an entire episode. It may surprise those who have not, that Beck uses their own words (liberal left, socialists and communists with whom President has surrounded himself) to indict themselves. As Beck says, “do your own research”. This coming election is going to sort much of this out when Middle America speaks to the political class, both Democrats and Republicans. Please take some well-founded advice: The hater is usually the one most damaged by spouting the kind of hatred I read in the blogs above. Take a deep breath and consider the constitutional republic our founders set up as opposed to the Euro-centric policies of the Obama Administration. Learn from the chaos in France, Greece and other socialist countries that are now realizing what they must do to survive.

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