They’ve reported wars, riots and all manner of unrest, but the media’s latest assignment may well be their most perilous to date and would have even Ernie Pyle quaking at his typewriter: Covering Sarah Palin’s bus tour:
Yet the reemergence of the GOP’s larger-than-life 2008 vice presidential candidate – who says she is strongly considering a run for president – is undeniably news. Which is why more than a dozen national news outlets have sent reporters and producers out to try and follow Palin.
Since Palin and her team won’t share where the potential candidate is headed, reporters and producers have little choice but to simply stay close to Palin’s bus. This has resulted in scenes of the Palin bus tooling down the highway followed by a caravan of 10 or 15 vehicles – including a massive CNN bus – all trying to make sure they don’t lose sight of the Palin bus.
It adds up to a dangerous situation, says CBS News Producer Ryan Corsaro.
“I just hope to God that one of these young producers with a camera whose bosses are making them follow Sarah Palin as a potential Republican candidate don’t get in a car crash, because this is dangerous,” he said.
Corsaro asked a member of Palin’s team if he thought it was dangerous to have reporters forced to chase her from stop to stop. “You’re the ones that are trailing us,” he replied.
The way the media is covering the start of Palin’s bus tour, it would be more fitting if Sarah were riding in a white Ford Bronco.
The highly dangerous situation in which Palin has heartlessly placed a sizable portion of the media is starting to take its toll:
Now, some of the media frustration is playing out on Twitter.
Some journalists believe Palin is behaving like a celebrity, and that covering her may be beneath them. For example, The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta Tweeted: “reality TV star Palin treating pol reporters like paparazzi — needing & hating, inviting & making chase.” Politico’s Ben Smith Re-Tweeted her — and Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post agreed, responding: “seriously, why dont media outlets have entertainment reporters cover her instead of polit. press?”
This was a bit too much for CNN’s Peter Hamby — who is hot on Palin’s trail. Hamby responded to both Franke-Ruta and Smith, Tweeting: “Believe it or not we’re asking serious questions. (And, btw, politico has a reporter here too).”
Franke-Ruta responded, Tweeting: “Right, right — but that’s how you’re treating her, not how she’s treating you.”
Hamby next turned his sights on Rubin, Tweeting: “smart point, [Palin's] not a national political figure in any way, after all.”
I don’t know what everybody’s complaining about. If you were a reporter, would you rather cover Sarah Palin’s bus tour or be put on the Weiner beat?