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From: Glenn Spencer (e-mail him)
Here`s the anatomy of a media black out.
I spent the three months preparing for a news conference at the National Press Club scheduled for January 14, 2009.
On December 10 and January 6, I flew aerial surveillance missions along the border. I then used the mission data, together with data from other missions flown over the past two years, to form the story I would tell in Washington, D.C.
I`ve never given a better presentation. I told the compelling and true story, with all its national significance, of our open border with Mexico.
To make sure the media and others would be there, American Border Patrol paid PR Newswire extra to use its special Homeland Security microlist for our press release. I called and e-mailed reporters I knew, including Jerry Seper of the Washington Times, just to make sure they would attend.
Thursday morning I arose about 3 A.M. to do the finishing touches on my presentation.
We left the hotel about 7:30 for the 9 A.M. conference. Traffic, made worse by vendor trucks rushing to get their junk into D.C. before roads were closed for the inauguration, was horrible. As we drove past hundreds and hundreds of porta-potties and lines of tents set up for the January 20th shindig, I worried that we wouldn`t arrive on time. We did, with ten minutes to spare.
The Holeman Lounge at the Press Club is very impressive (and expensive), and we had arranged for a 60" plasma TV for the presentation. We had four large posters (cost - $600) with incredible graphics. Everything was perfect as I put a stack of professionally prepared press packages on a table near the entrance
We were ready.
But no one came. Not one member of the press or media showed up. There were friends in the audience, but no reporters to get the story.
I gave the presentation anyway and our friends agreed that the story was probably too important to be told to the public.
That is why we were blacked out.
I was disappointed at the lack of a turnout, and a little depressed – what a waste of American Border Patrol`s money. Even Seper, who I was sure would attend, didn`t come. (Contact information for Seper here)
But after thinking about it, I have decided it was a good investment after all. ABP had paid for airtight proof that it is being blacked out by the media.
Looking back over the past year I now realize that the press blackout of ABP has been going on for some time.
In January of last year I traveled to Washington, D.C. to present ABP`s year-end report on the border.
At one point I spent an hour with Seper in his Washington Times office. Seper told me that the paper would no doubt run a big story on American Border Patrol`s work. It never happened. In fact, it never even mentions us.
In the past year, Radio France, a crew from Finnish Television (YLE TV), Tages Anzeiger, the German language Swiss national daily newspaper, ARD (German Radio), BFM TV from France, TV 4 from Sweden and Five News from London visited us.
I took most of these people on an aerial tour of the border and I have been told their stories have been running all across Europe. In the past ABP has also been visited by TV crews from all over Asia. ABP is well known, it seems, everywhere but in the U.S.
On September 14 the Sierra Vista Herald ran a big story about how ABP challenged Department of Homeland Security`s border fence construction figures.
The Herald ran a follow-up story on October 5, but no one picked that one up either.
Both stories included interviews with DHS/CBP officials. Reporter Shacat told me that he had a long conversation with Angela de Rocha, public affairs officer for Department of Homeland Security`s Customs and Border Protection, during which she said American Border Patrol is doing a valuable service for the American people.
On October 10, ABP held a press conference in Tucson to discuss our differences with the DHS regarding the border fence. We used PR Newswire and our Arizona list to notify the media.
No one came then either. A reporter with a Tucson TV station e-mailed me and said he asked the station to cover the news conference, but it didn`t. He couldn`t explain why.
After that failed press conference Sean Holsteage of the Arizona Republic e-mailed me and made arrangements to fly with ABP on its next border mission.
It was all set for November 10th. At the last minute, he notified me that his boss (contact information here) cancelled the trip, citing insurance issues. This was complete nonsense. Had they asked we would have told them ABP has insurance through the AOPA.
And, reporters are in the business of getting into the "real world." In fact, last November reporters were injured in a hot-air balloon accident near Yuma.
If reporters are assigned to fly in a hot-air balloon, a very dangerous activity, it makes no sense that one would be prohibited from flying in a fixed-wing airplane flown by an instrument-rated pilot with more than 6,000 accident-free flying hours.
The evidence is very clear. The media bosses in the United States are doing everything they can to keep the truth about the border away from the American People. The absence of reporters at the National Press Club was final proof that they are very afraid of what American Border Patrol has to say.
When it comes to the border, the media bosses are treating the American people like mushrooms – keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure
I was let down about what happened in D.C., but not discouraged.
In fact, I am energized by knowing that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the media fears American Border Patrol so much that it`s willing to sacrifice any sense of fairness and balance to censor us.
We will find other ways to reach the American people, not only with the truth about the border, but with the truth about how they are being manipulated by the power-elite.
We may be blacked out but we won`t be silenced.
Spencer is every immigration reform patriot`s hero because of his tireless efforts on America`s behalf. He founded American Border Patrol, an invaluable website that documents illegal alien activities and crossings. Glenn`s previous letter about border security is here.