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.