After my success at getting into CNN's outside-the-Pepsi Center base of operations, I moved a hundred yards or so down the perimeter to Braun's Bar & Grill, which Fox News has taken over for the run of the Democratic National Convention. Unlike with CNN, Fox didn't have any guards posted outside. I was able to walk right into the main entrance. But that's as far as I got.
The small entryway leads to open doors on either side, through which I could see dozens of FNC personnel buzzing with activity. But standing in my path was a beefy security type with a chest like the front of a Peterbilt -- so I introduced myself, told him I wanted to eyeball the joint, and asked if I could speak with a person who could make that happen. He seemed a bit perplexed by my query, moving from one doorway to the other, presumably in an attempt to spot someone to whom he could pass me off. Meanwhile, staffers as well as presumptive interviewees scurried past -- among them Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton. This went on for a while, until the guard finally told me the individual who could grant me access wasn't around but would be soon and advised me to come back in 45 minutes.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
I obediantly returned at the appointed time to find that the guard had been replaced by three other staffers, including a very nice woman who teaches at a local college. She promised to track down the right person -- a process that took a few minutes. While I waited, FNC correspondent Chris Wallace walked past moments before a member of the security staff watching over New Mexico governor Bill Richardson arrived to say he wanted to make arrangements for his boss' interview with Mike Wallace. (He was gently corrected.) Finally, a woman representing the gatekeeper arrived and asked for my affiliation -- I told her Westword was part of the Village Voice Media chain -- and my business card. Then she disappeared, only to return about ninety seconds later. "Right now isn't a good time," she said. "But we have your card."
I may be a bit slow, but I can read between those lines. I'll bet she'll be calling with permission any minute now. -- Michael Roberts