October 10, 2008

The pictures the JT wouldn't show you

Partisans with signs chanting outside the Johnson Building Thursday

OK, we'll admit the obvious up front: We didn't go downtown while ABC-TV was broadcasting its evening news show with Charlie Gibson from Downtown Thursday night. Instead, we stayed home and watched the broadcast, hoping to see Racine get some positive national publicity. Yeah, so much for that idea.

But we knew -- from the Journal Times' story -- that election partisans crowded the street in front of the building. Reporter Stephanie Brien described how only the Obama supporters could be heard up on the balcony where the broadcast was to be made, and how police closed two blocks of Main Street because ABC producers thought car horns would disrupt the broadcast, and how Police Chief Kurt Wahlen was "amazed" when the crowd acceded to his request for quiet during the broadcast.

But despite the JT's report of a chanting crowd -- perhaps as many as 300 Obama supporters and 25 McCainiacs, is what we've heard -- the newspaper didn't run any pictures of them. The local photographer who sent us these pictures said she asked the JT's photographer on the scene what he thought of the crowd, and he replied that he thought they were "rude."

So, lesson noted: If you want your picture in the paper, don't be rude... or carry an Obama sign.


  1. Thank you Obama supporters for your energy and fun spirit on Thursday! I have not met one Obama supporter who is rude. A good friend of mine was there during the taping and said they immediately quieted down when asked. Thank you Racine Post for showing the other side of the story.

  2. racinegirl - maybe you should go to any McCain speech and you'll see the unruly Obama supports. Did you not watch the nomination speech for McCain? The McCain supports are the ones that do not cause disruptions.

  3. Couple of things ...

    1. In the JT photog's defense, there is no way the newspaper would run a picture of dozens of Obama supporters. It would lead to too many angry phone calls and the need for a "make-up" McCain photo some time next week. It's a frustrating thing to try and cover a story knowing your employer isn't interested in what really happened.

    2. Has anyone wondered why the police quieted the crowd for ABC News? It seems strange that a media organization supposedly steeped in the First Amendment would ask the local police to silence a group of citizens making a political statement. Frankly, that's scary.

  4. StopthemadnessNOW10/11/2008 9:34 AM

    A couple of comments to Dustin's points.

    1. Yup, the potential news value of the photos was trumped by the potential for bitchy calls to the JT city desk by partisans (from both sides). Happens every election cycle. When you're editing a newspaper you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    2. Good ol' ABC News wasn't as concerned about the "group of citizens making a political statement" as they were about the ambient noise during a live broadcast. If they hadn't called on the cops to shush the crowd, the broadcast would have sounded like those live sports reports at the conclusion of a high school football game. Keep in mind, those national TV news broadcasts are as staged as anything.

  5. 2. I found it quite amazing that the police asked the crowd to be quiet during the broadcast. I also found it astonishing that the demonstrators listened and were quiet for thirty minutes.

    At a couple points, a few people became "loud." About 50 people told them "shhhh."

    I am thinking that if the national media comes to Racine again, that there should be a "No Big Media" demonstration. After all, these are the people who lie to us daily...

    Power to the Alternative Media!

  6. Have you ever tried to watch MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews when they broadcast live from outside a convention or a debate site? There's always a crowd of partisan picketers chanting and shouting; even if the people on Matthews's show can think clearly, it's nearly impossible to follow along with whatever they're saying.

  7. .....and who's choice was it to broadcast live where they may be a crowd that gathers?

  8. To the 1st Anon - I am talking about local Obama supporters, not the convention. And I will stop myself from commenting on McCain supporters because we all will still be living here together after the election, hopefully not too seperated by politics when all is said and done.