March 17, 2006
Given that Fox reporters have long acted as government agents, this shouldn’t come as any surprise at all:
There was a whirlwind of activity in the days prior to President Bush’s arrival at a home on the beach in Gautier last week, with government officials and Secret Service scouting a location and checking the neighborhood where Bush would stop.
… Recounting the pre-visit days for WLOX and the Sun Herald, Jerry Akins, who received Bush, mentioned that on the Friday before Bush arrived, two men approached him identifying themselves as members of the media.
He said the men told him they were with Fox News out of Houston, Texas, and were on a “scouting mission” for a story on new construction. They took pictures inside Akins’ house, which is under construction and looked up and down the road in the neighborhood.
Akins said he didn’t think anything more about them partly because visits from strangers increased exponentially as government agents and Secret Service arrived that Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before the March 8 visit.
But after the president left Akins’ home, the two men again approached Akins and let him know they were not media after all, but were with the governmental entourage.
Akins said the two showed him blue porcelain lapel pins that contained the Presidential seal and another government official confirmed the two were with the government entourage and not the media. Akins assumed they were Secret Service agents.
… Aly Colon, who deals with issues of ethics for the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla., said such a scenario undermines the public’s trust of the media.
“I think when individuals who are not journalists pose as journalists, it creates, at the least, some confusion in the public’s minds,” Colon said. “The key to journalism is credibility. So what the public wants to be able to do is trust people and organizations who represent themselves as part of the journalistic community.”
… Akins said he saw no problem with what happened and the government agents laughed about their fooling him. In the long run, he said, he’d rather have had a visit from the president than be on a segment of Fox News, anyway.
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