I don’t know if you ever played telephone when you were a child, but the grownup version seems to be occurring through blog sites. Everyone likes a good story and what better one, than a reporter being stuffed in a closet for the duration of a political fundraising event? Scott Powers, from the Orlando Sentinel, wrote on his blog that the whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Last Wednesday he went to cover Joe Biden’s fundraising event for Sen. Bill Nelson.
When he first arrived, he was asked to wait in a small kind of storage closet. He willingly went in, but ran into problems on trying to leave. The staff member guarding the door would not allow Powers to interview or talk with any of the guests, and asked him to remain in the storage area. He was only allowed out, after the speakers had begun, and then ushered back to the closet before the event closed, again prohibiting him from having any interviews with those who attended.
Powers got tired of the way things were being handled, and took a picture of the room he was in. He then sent the photo to his editor, explaining that because of the restricted access, he would not be able to provide much, if any information, about what went on before or after the main presentation.
Now, in some articles and blogs this account has spiraled so far out into left field that the story is hardly recognizable. It may read that Powers was kidnapped or that he was held in the closet for the whole fundraiser, and not allowed out to hear the speakers. Anyway, it is amazing how fast word travels and how screwed up it can become. I think this is just a reminder to anyone in the field of journalism or public relations that it is of key importance to get facts straight before releasing them to the public.