10. June 2009 · Comments Off on The News Making Machinery · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General, Local, Politics, Tea Time

I am reminded this morning of the old axiom about law and sausage – if you are fond of either one of them you’d best not watch either one being made This also applies to news; if you are a consumer of it, you just don’t want to watch it being made. And also of the other understanding, so often noted by bloggers recently: that would be the one about how one can be intimately involved in an event, or even just present at it – but the way that brief snippets are presented afterward by the news media present something so different from what you experienced.

All righty, then – yesterday, elements of the San Antonio Tea Party had a protest in front of Senator John Cornyn’s office in downtown San Antonio: basically, our aim was to encourage him to step up to the plate when it came to reviewing Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s fitness for the Supreme Court.

This was how the story played on one local news channel which covered it:

And the local Fox affiliate (which doesn’t have the video portion of the story in easily linkeable format wrote it up this way, on their website:

“The confirmation hearing for supreme court justice nominee. Sonya Sotomayor is now set for July 13th. Here in San Antonio, those in favor and against her nomination confronted each other in front of Senator John Cornyn’s office. As Yami Virgin shows us. The exchange got so heated police had to get involved.”

Yep – for about ten minutes we had a dueling bullhorn thing going on, between our group and about three pro-Sotomayor partisans; one of whom was, so one of the policemen told me, a professional protester of long-experience and an even longer arrest record. And yes, they did step in and tell us all very firmly to stop it with the bullhorns. Not that it stopped the protest in the least, for despite how the news channels framed it – the protest went on for another hour or so, albeit at a lower decibel level.

And where, you ask, was your fearless media rep, Sgt. Mom, in all of this? Oh, yes – I was there too, not that there is much evidence on the final edited video coverage on either of the news reports, and yes, I did look for any evidence that I was. I’m not completely without vanity, you know, and I had dressed up a bit. I did spend a good few minutes in front of their cameras. Efficiently, both camera crews taped me, side by side; which was nice, as I didn’t have to repeat myself. I was speaking in quiet and reasonable tones, outlining the various reasons that we had for doing this, our very real reservations about Justice Sotomayer’s ability to be fair and impartial, given her record in various cases, and her associations and assorted public statements. And yes, Senator Cornyn is theoretically one of the good guys, but we wished to remind him of who he worked for, that we were constituents with issues that we wanted to see addressed, and apparently the only way to get the attention of Washington insiders these days – as well as that of the legacy news media – was to make a fuss on the sidewalk.

All of this, as I said – in quiet, respectful and measured tones… none of which wound up being included in the finished broadcast stories. Of course; passion and raised voices draw the eyeballs, shedding lots of heat and not much light on the subject.

I have better hopes for serious consideration from the two guys with the cable access show, who spent some serious time with everyone – even taping a long dialog between one of our members and one of the Sotomayor partisans, a conversation which was conducted with decorum and which will probably turn out to be much more informative, all the way around.

Oh, and we did present a petition with a great many signatures to one of Senator Cornyn’s assistants – a young man who seemed to be acquainted with the concept of ‘mau mauing the flack catchers’ if not the actual literary reference , so it wasn’t all a wasted effort.

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