Skip to comments.Speaking Of Phony Town Halls (Freeper vs Ted Koppel)
Posted on 08/06/2009 1:34:38 PM PDT by icwhatudo
With all the talk about phony town halls and planted questions, I was reminded about my own experience with Nightline's Ted Koppel. It was 1995 and I first heard about ABC's Nightline coming to Towson State University (Maryland) from a friend who was a psychology major.
"Nightline - Teen Sex: What'll We Tell the Kids" was the title of the event and former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition were two of the main guests.
I asked my friend how she got a ticket and she said only certain departments were handing them out and apparently there were none left. $20 later and her ticket was mine.
One of the issues back then was in NY where a former drug addict had become the directer of school health or something to that effect. Like Elders, this person wanted to introduce highly sexual information (including the use of dental damns) to school kids as young as the 5th grade. A low income African American grandmother of one of the students got everyone organized in the community and defeated this new policy. ABC news awarded their "Person of the Week" award to...the former drug addict who had the "courage" to try to "educate" the kids. This was going to form the basis of my question at this "open" Town Hall.
From watching previous Nightline Town Halls, I knew that microphones would be positioned throughout the hall and people would stand in line at each one to ask their question. Ticket in hand, I arrived early in the day and was surprised to find I was first in line. Throughout the day the line continued to grow but the doors remained shut "to allow for set-up".
Occasionally people would ask us to stand to the side as ABC news personnel and guests would arrive. To my surprise Joycelyn Elders herself walked right past and said "excuse me" as I moved to the side to let her in the front door.
I asked a staffer when we would be allowed in and he said they were still waiting for other "guests". A few minutes later two yellow school buses arrived with approximately 80 college students on board. As they walked to the door I said there was a line and I pointed to the end of it (which was now quite far away). An ABC staffer asked me to move to the side and let them in and I stated that I had been in line for hours and wanted to know why they got to go in first. He replied that they had "special tickets" that allowed them to go in first and that they were some sort of "special guests".
As I argued with the staffer, the group was allowed in and I saw a good friend of mine walking off the bus. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was recommended by his professor to be on Nightline. (He was known to me to be very liberal but he was a good guy) He said he was part of a group that had written questions and his question was one that was picked. He said all the ones picked were taken to a studio to practice reading their questions and that ABC news staffers "helped refine" their questions before bringing them over by bus.
I was floored-but what could I do. About 20 minutes later the doors opened and I finally entered the hall. To my surprise the hall was empty except for the seats surrounding the microphones in the crowd. Immediately I realized this was a setup but since there was no microphone in the front rows I got a seat right up front less than 20 feet from Ted Koppel himself.
Mr. Koppel came out before the show began and explained the topic and how the audience could ask questions from any of the microphones situated throughout the hall.
As the show began the guests were introduced and eventually they began taking question from the audience. Since the people from the buses were placed near the microphones, they were at least 10 deep at each one at. I noticed that as each were in line, an ABC news staffer had a clipboard and seemed to be checking them off.
It was a set-up pure and simple but what was a future freeper going to do? As the show went on one of the microphones had technical trouble and the line of the pre-selected questioners was sent to the other mics.
During the commercial break I saw them working on it and noticed one tech say it was fixed. I got up and started walking toward the mic (still during the break) and was immediately intercepted by a staffer who said I had to stay in my seat. I said I wanted to ask a question and he said the lines were too long and I would not have a chance. I simply said OK and then said I was leaving for the restroom. As the staffer looked away I darted for the now working microphone and stood (first in line) with others behind me who now noticed it was working.
The clipboard guy seemed startled by my appearance at the mic as the others behind me were already checked off. he asked my name and then said I wasn't on his list. I said it was an "Open" Town hall and I did not need to be on a list. The previous staffer saw I had not gone to the restroom and tried to make me sit back down. I started to become loud and said "Why don't you ask the 10 people standing behind me to sit down-This is supposed to be an open Town Hall! Some of my other friends at the event laughed and cheered- Just then the commercial break ended and the staffers wanted no crowd noise so they let me be and questions continued round-robin style around the hall but my mic was skipped each time.
I was furious. At the next commercial break I shouted to Ted Koppel "I thought this was an open town hall!-Why don't you admit these questioners were all bused in!" He seemed clueless and after talking to some staffers said the mic was having trouble and I was welcome to get in line at any of the other mics (which now had 15 people in line at each with only a few minutes remaining in the show.)
I saw that I was not going to win and as I walked back to my front row seat I told Koppel what a farce this so called "OPEN" Town Hall was and I noticed Lou Sheldon cracked a smile. Koppel was pissed but just as they came back from commercial he was business as usual and the next question came from.....the so called broken microphone I had just walked away from.
This was my introduction to open and free town halls controlled by the liberal media. No wonder it freaks them out today to see people able to speak out.
SENATOR BEN CARDIN - TOWN HALL MEETING -HEALTH CARE - TOWSON
Monday, August 10th - 7 p.m. TO ACQUIRE SEATING YOU MUST CONTACT
AND RSVP THAT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND. SEATING IS LIMITED TO 500 & NO STANDING ROOM WILL BE ALLOWED BY THE UNIVERSITY.
MARYLAND FREEDOM COALITION ALERT
GATHER WITH US AT 5:30 TO DEMONSTRATE OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF OUR HEALTH INSURANCE
Towson University Center for the Arts
Harold J. Kaplan Concert Hall
Corner of Cross Campus and Osler Drives Towson, MD 21204
Parking is available across the street from the Center for the Arts on Auburn Drive off Osler Drive on Lot 13.
I for one will be there!
Very eye-opening—i always “knew” these things were set-up in favor of the liberal media agenda, but it really brings home the level of cynicism and hypocrisy to hear someone who was actually there explain it. And to realise how far back it all goes-the liberals have been been the tortoise in this race—we on the right make a big splashy gain here and there, but the left just slowly and persistently and patiently, underneath (even when on the surface they appear to be exploding with protest and activism) the surface continues to take over, infiltrate, or openly control every sector of American life that influences ideas and the direction of this nation. We fool ourselves by thinking we’ve plugged gaps in the dam when manage a victory. Wrong metaphor-all we’ve done is stop the clock for a few ticks. They pick up where they left off, the hands on the clock are never moved back, just temporarily stopped.
Did you RSVP? I think it would be good to get people inside and outside the event. I will be there outside and then will go inside for the event itself. I RSVP’d as directed but have not gotten a response yet.
This is why FReepers need a new phase—MOLES among liberals. Simply pretend you are favorable to their cause and give a phony question.
Everyday, there’s something. Everyday there is something that if George Bush had tried or been associated with it, all hell would break loose.
There is definitely something going on.
Fortunatey our constitution will not allow for a dictator.
This little man may try, but in the end he will not win out. I’m amazed at the anger and will of the masses. And it really hasn’t started yet.
I once went over to DU for a week and tried that. They were fairly nice to me. Then some idiot got mad at some innocuous thing I wrote while trying to be civil.
They just approved Sonya. The constitution is what she says it is.
“Fortunatey our constitution will not allow for a dictator.”
We HAVE a dictator!
Thanks for sharing. I knew they were fixed, but not to that extent! Wow!
How much longer will we allow this?
No problem. Those were some interesting times and finding FR just a few years later was awesome!
The woman who asked Bill Clinton the “boxers or briefs” question was the daughter of a journalist. She and her mother had contemplated what question she might ask at the MTV town hall gathering (MTV is owned by Viacom but I don’t recall if the mother worked for SeeBS).
The mother and daughter settled on a question about the legalization of recreational drugs. Her question was submitted, screened, and rejected. They told her to ask something “lighter”. Thus the “boxers or briefs” moment (that was also used to inpune the political reasoning of young voters).
And if you paid attention to the so called “uncommitted Republican” debate participants in the 2008 debate, they were Democrat staffers and activists.
The Pravda Media controls what you see.
Right, as long as it is LIVE tv, agree to read the planted question but change it up when you are at the mic.
All Freepers should probably review this excellent post concerning the use of the Delphi Technique for manufacturing “concensus” in a crowd.
How to disrupt the Delphi Technique...
I work construction and will probably be a bit dirty and a little smelly! I will try to thicken up the deodorant though to counteract that. I hope to be there before 5:30 but I am leaving from Virginia at 2:30 and don't know what the traffic will be like. Plus I have to find something to eat.
Highly recommended. Thanks for the links!
I went to a town hall for Hillary! during her (failed) Health Care tour.
Among other things, they had a mentally retarded gentleman pose a question to HRC. I give him credit for having the guts to stand up in front of a crowd of 1000s and speak, however, the staffer for Hillary (I got there early, saw them speaking on stage together) whispering in his ear and coaching him on what to say was a little disheartening.
Bread and Circuses, that's all.
I've trolled for years at DKos and they don't have a clue. It is so easy to sew the seeds of violent discord over there.
Fascinating. Koppel always seemed less leftest than the average news guy. I guess you cannot rise to his position without being a hard-core lib or else oblivious. Thanks for sharing that story.
“It is so easy to sew the seeds of violent discord over there.”
Can you give an example of how you do this?
I’m not a bit surprised at what happened at the “open” town hall media event.
Another tactic some of the congresscritters will be using this month is “phony” in more ways than one. There will be “telephone townhall meetings” where they will take questions during a certain time period. Just heard that Mike Ross has two such “meetings” planned.
The reason is obvious. They get their message out, and “the angry mob” does not.
You sound like you are a mob to me. Shame on you!
< /sarc >