Ashley Powers: Reporter by Day, Spy in NevadaPosted: February 8, 2012
Ashley Powers, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is a spy – according to the members of precinct 1721 of the Nevada Caucus this past Saturday.
According to her own article, Powers was asked to leave “small, stuffy room” in which voting for the Republican presidential candidate was about to take place. According to Powers, only about 10 speakers had spoken out about their favorite candidates when the caucus chairwoman announced that no media would be allowed in the room.
Powers, who had been issued a press pass badge earlier that day, argued that she was, indeed, allowed in the vicinity. There was a brief uprising, however, in which one member of precinct 1721 asserted that the media is “a bunch of liars” while still another brandished a pin exclaiming that citizens “shouldn’t believe the liberal media.”
And another member accused her of being a spy.
Once a man threatened to call security on the reporter if she did not leave, Powers agreed to leave the room. She did not simply give up and go home, however. Immediately after being threateningly asked to leave the room, Powers began to tweet about the incident.
At one point, upon attempting to reenter the room, she tweets that an “elderly man . . . grabbed [her] arm [and] pushed [her] away from the door” which was then shut in her face.
Not everyone was against Powers, however. According to her, Bobbie Haseley, the official from the Clark County GOP who had issued her the press badge called immediately after the incident to apologize. Furthermore, some voters had taken the time to slip her the precinct results.
Still, however, the incident should not have occurred – and the fact that it did raises some important questions about current distrust of the media. It wasn’t as though Powers showing up at the Nevada Caucus was a rarity. With the AP and Google in a public race to see “whether an innovative technology company or an established news outlet could report election results first,” it was no secret that the caucus would be covered.
So why did citizens of the 1721 caucus react so poorly to Ashley Powers’ presence? Keep in mind that according to Gallup Politics, about 55% of Americans had “little or no trust” in the non-biased nature of the media.
Where might this distrust be coming from? If there really is a legitimate amount of distrust for the media amongst Americans today – then can the people of precinct 1721 really be held entirely to blame for their paranoid actions?
Clearly, the press cannot act as a watchdog for government if the people trust the press even less than they trust said government. How can the media clean up their image and regain the trust of Americans? Is this even possible?
Lots of questions this time, people.