Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain campaign apologizes to ousted reporter: End of Story? Hardly...

In an attempt to quell the controversy over McCain's ousting of Stephen Pricethe sole black reporter at a rally in Tallahassee, especially after Keith Olberman's coverage, the McCain campaign apologized to Stephen Price in a phone call. Here's one version:

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers called Price on Tuesday evening and apologized on behalf of the campaign.

Rogers said "We feel terrible about it," according to Price.

"I accept the apology," Price said. "I definitely wish I was never singled out. I came up there to do a story. That's all I wanted to do is write a story."

Rogers told Price that McCain would call him in the next few days.

OK, so this is supposed to be the end of the story, right? Especially since John McCain HIMSELF would "call him in the next few days." And what could Mr. Price do except graciously accept this direct apology?

And McCain, of course, is giving himself time before making that call. Presumably, to see how it blows up. As expressed here,

I would think he could have squeezed in a phone call by now — five days and counting later — but I guess it takes a story being spotlighted on the national cable news shows before it begins to sink in on Gramps.

And anyway, McCain’s been so busy. We’ve seen him cavorting with the bikers at their rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, and egging his wife on to compete in the topless biker babe contest. Who has three minutes for a phone call?

But the story won't go away. The questions have not been answered, or even addressed. It's just "sorry", "forgive & forget", without the explanation, without acknowledging even sorry for what exactly...

Is it "sorry" for being racist? Is it "sorry" for giving the appearance of being racist? Is it "sorry" for adding another "incident" to the list of suspicious-looking racial-bias indicators in the McCain camp? Is it "sorry" for this incident becoming a possible drag on the McCain campaign? Is it "sorry" - "now please go away"? Is it "sorry from the bottom of my heart" - ("damn incompetent staff")?? Is it simply "sorry we kicked you out for no good reason" ... "inadvertently"? "by mistake"?

Was there a policy of separating "local" from "national" reporters? NO. Was there some kind of security threat? NO. Did Mr. Price present proper credentials? YES. So what's up with that? If it's not racial profiling, JUST TELL US what it IS.
Then did they issue a similar apology to the mysterious unnamed "other reporter" who was also kicked out when she defended Mr. Price? And then what, pray tell, are they sorry for in that case? Sorry our inept operatives kicked off any possible whistle-blowers/troublemakers? Sorry the public has to be an eyewitness to our inept operatives?

The point and bottom line is: there IS no explanation. There WAS no reason given. It was an abbreviation. A full stop. A one-word, one-thought period, they hope, at the end of an awkward, but revealing, sentence. A sentence that suggests "we represent the party of the Great White Hope, the party of Old Values where patriotism is embodied in a flag decal/pin, and where familiar WASP faces will always be sitting on the seats of power." Did they apologize for that suggestion? To whom?

McCain needs to explain himself to the American public. The story, the bigger story behind this incident, just won't go away.

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