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Al Jazeera at the RNC

--by Jonathan Kaminsky via phone

Alongside the Xcel Center, there is an approximately 12-thousand-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.

But we wondered, were they on hair-eyeball alert? "No, we are here to cover the convention, just like we did in Denver."

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 Center, their trailer, and their hotel room. In this, it's safe to say, they are just like every other journalists who've descended on our town this week.

Once the convention's over, they'll be headed back on a plane to Qatar.

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