All hail Kevin Woster and South Dakota Public Broadcasting for their defense of long-form blogging! Woster cranks out over 2,600 words of the most thorough description of Rep. Kristi Noem’s contentious July 5 Rapid City town hall, burying the lede, weaving direct reporting with cultural observations and political critique, and SDPB lets the whole thing on their website. Ah, the Internet and public media, freeing Woster and all of us of the constraints of ink, paper, and commercial breaks for Sanford.)
Permit me to spotlight just one of Woster’s observations about Noem town hall. Evidently someone lied to Woster about restrictions on press accommodations at the event:
Reporters for TV, newspaper and public radio were squeezed into a spot along the wall 20 or 30 feet from Noem. I complained about that to Noem staffers, who said it was a Pennington County Sheriff’s Office mandate. I then complained to Pennington County Sheriff’s Office deputies, who said Noem staffers wanted the restriction.
Whoever decided what, nobody was allowed behind the congresswoman, mostly. Staffers and deputies were allowed that angle. And I did notice that a local tea party and 2nd amendment advocate was on the edge and sometimes in the restricted zone, something I mentioned to a Noem staffer [Kevin Woster, “In an Era of the Impolite, South Dakotans Cling to Courtesy—Even at Contentious Town Hall,” SDPB: On the Other Hand, 2017.07.13].
Who penned the press? Noem says it was the sheriff; the sheriff says it was Noem. Both can’t be true, so someone was fibbing. Whoever those fibsters are, those public officials need to figure out that it’s not a good idea to fib to folks like Woster who have pens and cameras and websites where they can publish 2,600 words and much more.