From the pool report* from Gov. Sarah Palin’s “meeting” with Afghan president Hamid Karzai in New York today:
Palin, her legs crossed and at one point patting her heart, was leaning in eagerly and smiling. Karzai, wearing his traditional clothes but without his trademark karakul hat, was also grinning while discussing [his] child. His remarks were unintelligible as the noise from the clicking cameras drowned them out. This was the only exchange that was heard:
“What is his name?,” Palin asked.
“Mirwais,” Karzai responded. “Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’”
“Oh nice,” Palin responded.
“He is the only one we have,” remarked Karzai.
At this point, the pool was hustled out the room and down to the hotel lobby.
Pool was in the room for a grand total of 29 seconds.
Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt gave a statement to reporters in the lobby as to why print pool and wires were not allowed in:
“The decision was made for this to be a photo spray with still cameras and video cameras only.”
I’m not familiar with the term “photo spray,” but I do think it’s more apt that “photo op” in that it doesn’t imply that something is being given (the campaign provides the press an opportunity to photograph the candidate… in a specific, controlled manner) so much as something is being forcefully dispensed, like pesticide on a pest.
* Better than nothing? This 29-second pool report, from CNN producer Peter Hamby, apparently exists only because CNN threatened to pull its cameras when initially told by Palin’s people that only cameras (no print and wire reporters in the press pool) would be admitted to the meeting. Other media orgs, too, complained. A “media rebellion,” per the New York Times.
UPDATE: Maybe reporters would have better luck with this Sarah Palin?
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.