The Show Must Go On

From the Xcel Energy Center to the riot zone, we're covering the RNC

He has a point. It's not as if the first day of the convention was really canceled. If it were, all the delegates would have stayed away, which they didn't. Instead, the two least popular Republicans in the country—George Bush and Dick Cheney—were whitewashed from the gala. Hurricane or no, it was quite convenient for John McCain. Jonathan Kaminsky

From the Mouths of Babes

Jack Greenberg, a seventh-grader from West Haven, Connecticut, wants to be the next Brian Williams. The 12-year-old is armed with a microphone, camera crew, and his own producer and credentials. And due to the cute factor, he's getting interviews many journalists would die for.

We caught up with him talking with Sampat Shivangi, a delegate from Jackson, Mississippi. "He's going to be an anchor like Dan Rather or Peter Jennings someday," Shivangi said of Greenberg.

"Peter Jennings is dead," Greenberg responded.

Greenberg, who wrote two essays for Scholastic News in fifth grade to get here, is an old pro. He points out media elites and is quick to say who is who.

"Wolf Blitzer is here, Anderson Cooper is not," he said matter-of-factly.

All day, Greenberg questioned delegates about the economy, Sarah Palin, and the environment. Last week, he did the same thing in Denver. "No other kid reporter has done that," he said proudly.

When asked whom he supports in the presidential race, Greenberg grinned and responded like a true journalist. "I'm impartial," he said. —Beth Walton

Oh Anderson, Where Art Thou?

Absolutely horrendous news broke in the wake of the hurricane: Anderson Cooper might not come to Minnesota.

The impeccably moisturized superstar anchor of CNN, whom we featured in our guide to the RNC, skipped the start of the convention to do actual journalism. With hurricane Gustav barreling through Louisiana, the preeminent heartthrob of the modern era once again reported to ground zero.

Hear that noise? It's the sound of the Eagle patrons crying into their leather chaps.

Yes, Anderson, we understand there will be 14,999 journalists here in the Twin Cities, but not a single talking head can fill your custom Italian kicks. Without you here there will be no Anderson Cooper moments of insight, no slim-fitting suits to look at, and no penetrating...questions?

This news totally kills the CNN after-parties, too. You think anyone wants to swill vodka tonics with Lou Dobbs? —Bradley Campbell

O'Reilly Spotting

There we were, enjoying a few pints of Summit Pilsner at Sakura, when we saw him through the window. "Hey, is that...?" A quick double take confirmed it. Yes. There he was. The man, the myth, the shameless whore: Bill O'Reilly.

The gangly rooster strutted down Fourth Street flanked by what appeared to be two Agent Smiths. He exuded the kind of twisted, slinking arrogance that comes with years spent pandering to millions upon millions of doughy housewives and humpbacked halfwits.

We abandoned our beer and bolted for the door, fully intent on challenging Mr. O to a no-holds-barred thumb war. He had a solid one-block lead, and we were consequently unable to catch up before he was swallowed by what could most politely be described as his entourage. Not knowing what else to do, we drunkenly snapped photos.

Admittedly, the photo quality was about as distorted as the man's sense of decency. Matt Snyders

Al Jazeera at the RNC

Alongside the Xcel Energy Center, there is an approximately 12,000-square-mile area allotted for broadcast media, an asphalt jungle filled with tents, trailers, and correspondents from outlets too frugal to secure space indoors. Deep inside this terrain, we found the press cafeteria, at which sat a half-dozen swarthy men, most of them smoking cigarettes. It was—you guessed it—a team from Al Jazeera.

Curious to know how things were working out for them, we approached and introduced ourselves. No notes, they told us, upon seeing our notebook. We asked if they felt at all weird being the, um, elephants in a room filled with so many Republicans. Not at all, they insisted. "We are journalists like any other journalists," one said.

Have they been enjoying our fair cities? "Yes," one of them told us, but upon further discussion it was revealed they haven't seen much beyond the Xcel, their trailer, and their hotel room. In this, it's safe to say, they are just like all the other journalists who've descended on our town this week.

Once the convention's over, they'll be flying back to Qatar. Jonathan Kamnsky

Freedom of the Press

We caught up with Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar of Democracy Now! on Tuesday at the Xcel. The two had been arrested the day before while covering protesters' clashes with cops in downtown St. Paul. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, hearing of their detention, rushed to their side and was arrested herself, charged with a misdemeanor, and released. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of felonious rioting and were told by police to expect formal charges by the end of the week.

The two suffered injuries during their detention. Salazar was thrown on her back by police and Kouddous was sporting a couple of nasty-looking gashes on his left upper arm. After Democracy Now! put out a press release, more than 1,000 calls streamed into the jail, and DFL Rep. Keith Ellison lobbied for their release. Instead of facing upward of a week in jail awaiting formal charges, they were set free after only about five hours. Still facing potential felony charges, the two, along with Goodman, are continuing to report on the RNC. —Jonathan Kaminsky

St. Paul's Gitmo

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