We told you last week how WaPo‘s Dana Milbank had complained in an online Q&A that at a recent Palin rally he’d covered in Florida the Secret Service had expanded its role of protecting the candidates to include keeping the press away from rally participants. Not so! Says Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan:
It’s not a function of the Secret Service to prevent or limit reporters from interviewing the people at events. We’ve never been asked by any campaign to do that…Being in a press pool gives them special access. But the other side is that they have to stay together. You keep national press away from the local press for the same reason.
So, basically if you want access to the unwashed masses you have to attend the rally as one. But wait. Is that entirely accurate?
You may recall David Singleton of the Scranton Times-Tribune who did just that. The result was the widely circulated story he subsequently reported about the rally goer who cried “Kill him!” Singleton says he was contacted by the Secret Service a day later (perhaps they’re still brushing up on the Google) and told that he shouldn’t have published it. The Secret Service says they just asked for more info and could find no witnesses to corroborate the report. What does this all mean? Well for one, the Secret Service either needs to figure out how to use the Internets or reporters need to stop trying to steer clear of the unwashed masses.