Wednesday, August 04, 2004

RACIAL PROFILING AT BUSH-CHENEY 2004? The Arizona Daily Star reports that the Bush-Cheney campaign demanded to know the race of a photographer that the paper had assigned to cover an appearance by Dick Cheney last Saturday. Managing editor Teri Hayt refused, but the photographer - Mamta Popat, who is of Indian descent - was allowed to attend the Cheney event anyway.

As you'll see when you read the story, the demand came from the campaign itself, and was supposedly related to security concerns. Yet in this follow-up, the Secret Service takes the hit, calling the need for racial identification part of its standard security procedures.

Hmmm ... then how come the Phoenix wasn't asked for the race of reporters who would be covering the Democratic National Convention? We received nine passes for the FleetCenter, including a seat high above courtside, and I guarantee you we weren't asked who anyone's color was. And in case you didn't notice, the Secret Service practically ran the DNC.

I've covered maybe a half-dozen events over the years in which the Secret Service was involved, and I've never once been asked to state the color of my skin. Yes, I know, someone named Kennedy is probably white, but my brother Randall Kennedy shows that's not always the case.

So is the Secret Service telling the truth? If so, then why did the initial demand come from the Bush-Cheney campaign rather than from the agency? And if the Secret Service is not telling the truth, doesn't that amount to partisan flak-catching on behalf of the Republicans?

And why has no one written about this except David Mark?

[Update: D'oh! Click here for just a few of the other folks who've commented on this.]

NOMAR - WELL, MORE. I'm trying to find a way to wrap up the Nomar Garciaparra media war. I'm hoping that this column (sub. req.) by the Herald's Howard Bryant will do it. Bryant has obviously made the effort to talk to anyone who'll talk, and to place it all in some kind of perspective. The result is a piece that makes management look better than Nomar, but that has more nuance and depth than other commentaries I've seen. Bryant writes:

... Red Sox sources say the organization's mindset was to try and win a championship with Garciaparra in the lineup, let the relationship atrophy during the winter and part through the no-fault excuse of being unable to agree on a contract.

Neither side wanted to be the bad guy with the public. The result was an air of insincerity on both sides. The Sox didn't want the responsibility of trading a player of Garciaparra's enormity and the shortstop didn't want to deconstruct his iconic status with the fans by telling them he wanted out.

What made it fall apart, Bryant says, is that Garciaparra, for the first time in his career, was letting "his feelings toward the organization affect how he approached games. For seven years, he had never undermined the team, and now they believed he had." The result: an almost panicked trade in which the Red Sox got the short end of the stick.

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