Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Secret Service breaches should be chased by the media, not just comic strips

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Originally published on on Fri, 03/07/2008 – 1:40am

UPDATE: There is this follow-up story, again from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The U.S. Secret Service on Friday defended its handling of security during a massive rally in downtown Dallas for Barack Obama, saying there was no “lapse” in its “comprehensive and layered security plan,” which called for some people to be checked for weapons, while others were not.” Others in the article disagree with this assessment. Still, someone on the national scene should have brought some attention and asked some questions.

Finally, I found a media outlet that is wondering whatever happened to the story where the Secret Service stopped checking for weapons before a Barack Obama rally at Reunion Arena in Dallas.

Was it The New York Times? The Washington Post? International Herald Tribune? USA Today?

Nope, it was Candorville. What’s a Candorville?

Candorville is a comic strip, and it has spent this past week asking why the Secret Service let this happen. Here are the links to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday‘s strips.

When I did a Google news search to find which outlets were on the story, there were no recent stories on the subject — no follow-up, no speculation. So are we reduced to keeping the question alive thanks to a comic strip? Is this what the media is reduced to?

Obama received Secret Service protection long before any other presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton had Secret Service protection all along from her role as First Lady). Given the assassinations and near assassination attempts (just look at poor Gerald Ford — twice in one month) in our history, the protection seemed well deserved. So we have to wonder whether Obama is getting the full protection everyone seems to agree that he deserves.

This was the story ran at the time about the incident on February 20.

“Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order — apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service — was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena’s vacant seats before Obama came on.”

This accuses the Secret Service of giving the order, but we don’t know whether it’s true, or why the order was given. We don’t know.

Given the nature of the Secret Service, we might understand if we didn’t learn much in the two weeks plus since the incident occurred. But we haven’t even had the line of questioning. Candorville stepped up where the NYT, WP, and IHT did not.

On the heels of the recent protest over the lack of minority cartoonists, Darrin Bell, the creator of Candorville, may have felt an increased responsibility as an African-American cartoonist to step up and ask the important questions. If nothing else, we see why comic strips of color (even if they are in black and white) are vital to our media.

Candorville did address this topic in a hypothetical fashion that provoked controversy in the January 19 comic strip that did not run in some papers, including The Washington Post.

If any presidential candidate had a breach from the Secret Service, the media should cover it. I hope the reasons the media have ignored the issue aren’t because Obama is African-American; the fact that an African-American cartoonist is the primary one to bring it up speaks volumes on the differences we still have.

When young, blond women disappear, we know the cable news channels will put their faces on TV. African-American families wonder if their young women disappear, whether TV will care.

So, attention MSM: Hey, The New York Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, USA Today: find someone in your newsroom to ask some questions. Oh, CNN and MSNBC, let’s not leave you out, put some pressure on this. Don’t get outshined by a comic strip.


Written by democracysoup

March 7, 2008 at 1:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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