GOP convention nuts story: RNC and CNN issue terse statements


(Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Following the incident in which attendees at Tampa’s Republican National Convention threw nuts at an African American camera operator and said, “This is how we feed animals,” the Republican National Committee issued a statement:

“Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

CNN also issued a statement:

“CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

Late last night, the Erik Wemple Blog wondered whether CNN would approach the incident as a news story. One hour ago, the network kinda-sorta did that, posting this story. It carries the byline of “CNN Political Unit” and does nothing to take the story beyond what had already been reported.

GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying “This is how we feed animals.” @takeactionnews #TAN

— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) August 29, 2012

So at the moment, the story is locked up in Statementville — short, stingy little scribblings whose purpose appears to stifle inquiry and sunlight. After I posted my item on Twitter last night, I received this tweet:

@erikwemple how is one idiot delegate saying something stupid / racist a news story? 1 delegate out of how many?

— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) August 29, 2012

Just as easy a question: How is this not a news story? If the act wasn’t racist, it was at least anti-media. If it wasn’t racist or anti-media, it was just plain barbaric. Weird, anomalous and outrageous — those traits alone generally qualify an incident as news.

That it took place inside the convention venue on keynote night — when presumably people would be on good behavior — amps up the interest factor. And the bare-bones reality is that at an event where everything runs on script, a moment featuring harmless projectiles and deep-seated hatred — you gotta report that out.

The world needs to know who these nut-hurlers are. Just a couple of folks kicking around the convention? Subversives trying to mar the Republican Party’s party? Delegates? Officeholders? Do these individuals serve the public in any way? If so, their constituents may want to know a bit about what went down.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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