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The Monolithic Press?

LEESBURG, Va. — I’m on the idling Palin press bus, getting ready to head out on a swing through the state and then on to Pennsylvania tonight.

Sitting here with this group of journalists, print and television, I’m reminded of an interesting moment last night in Asheville, N.C.

Palin met a raucous crowd — I estimated around 10,000 people. She got her fans going with a number of points, including victory in Iraq, meeting the education needs of children with disabilities and, of course, calling out the media for its biased coverage.

At one point, when Palin brought up the press, the crowd on the floor of the arena turned toward us and let out some disapproving “boos” and the thumbs down sign. (No threats of violence, don’t worry Mom!)

After the rally, a woman in her late 40s or early 50s approached me and asked if the press has a suggestion box. I was puzzled at first, and explained that we each work for a different outlet — so there isn’t a general place to contact all of us. She repeated again that she wants to know why there is no suggestion box, a bit more irritated with me this time.

I paused, trying to think how I could help this woman out. It sounded like she wanted to voice a grievance or request some kind of investigation.

I suggested writing a letter to the editor, or emailing any of us. I said she can contact any of us directly or our editors, in fact.

She became more visibly annoyed at my response and said, “So there is no suggestion box, then” and rolled her eyes and walked away.

What struck me about this was the way she asked if we are the McCain press. She seemed to see us as a monolithic unit, rather than individuals looking for our own angles and stories to report.

I was sorry that she walked away so angry; that she believed there was no way to reach us.

In that spirit, let me leave you with a virtual suggestion box. Comments, questions, suggestions are all welcome. Email me anytime at lmcgann@washingtonindependent.com.

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