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Coverage of the Shadow Protest

Michael Slackman has an article in today's New York Times about the week-old story that protesters have suggested they might infiltrate the ranks of RNC volunteers. The story has created quite a buzz in the city's media and helped quadruple traffic to the Shadow Protest website.

In it, he fails to note a couple discrepancies between his April 22 report on the city's volunteer recruitment efforts and this latest article on the supposed infiltration.

"This is going to be a lot of fun for people that want to volunteer, and it's not a partisan thing," Michael Bloomberg is quoted as saying in the first article. But now we learn from Marilyn Shaw, director of volunteer services for the host committee, that all volunteers will be vetted by law enforcement before they are signed up. She also said volunteers would be expected to attend many meetings before getting their volunteer shirts. Does that sound like fun to you?

On a more factual level, the new article says the city has recruited 1400 of their target 8000 volunteers. The earlier article quotes Michael Bloomberg saying 2500 had already registered. Where did those 1100 pledges disappear to? Is the Shadow Protest already in effect?

Here is a timeline of this story, for those of you tracking the response times of the Grey Lady:

April 20: David Lynn of Shadow Protest sends out his press release announcing "Phantom Volunteers To Pollute Presidential Conventions' Volunteer Ranks"
April 22: Michael Slackman reports on Bloomberg's enlistment of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch to urge New Yorkers to "be nice" to visiting Republicans.
April 23: an email to the nornc announcement list responding to Slackman's article with the suggestion "that if a significant number of those 'volunteers' were actualy people opposed to the convention, things could be interesting." Discussion ensues, with no mention of Shadow Protest.
April 26: David Lynn's call is featured on the New York City Indymedia website and on RNC Pundit Patrol.
April 28: Slackman's article on the supposed infiltration.

April 28, 2004 | Permalink


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Michael Slackman from the New York Times has sent a note on the above post:

Just FYI - Regarding the discrepancies you cite in my two articles on volunteers. There is no conflict. At his press conference the mayor said they had been contacted by 2,500 people - a week later they claimed to have had about 1,400 people actuaolly sign up to volunteer on the website. Are some of the 1,400 from the original 2,500, probably. Anyway, since you guys are interested in accuracy, thought I'd point that out. I would be happy to answer questions anytime.


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