Nov 20, 2009

Military politics

On Monday, the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina will host Sarah Palin, who is on a tour for her new book, "Going Rogue."

In agreeing to the public event, the U.S. Army initially banned the media from attending to ensure the promotion of a political book written by a politician didn't turn political. Army officials assumed the mere presence of journalists would encourage Palin, or her supporters (some of them in uniform, I presume), to criticize President Obama and his policies. So, the theory went, even if Palin or her supporters did say something critical, the fact that no journalists were there to report it would preserve the apolitical atmosphere.

The Associated Press and Fayettville Observer both complained, calling the ban illogical and unconstitutional. For one, they said the Army can't have a public event and then restrict the press. Second, they said the public has things like cameras, personal blogs and mouths with which they could broadcast the day's events. In the end, the U.S. Army relented and agreed to allow media in.

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