Update: Here’s some video of what Ziegler had to say at the event:
HuffPo has a write-up, and some video, from yesterday’s “Fire David Letterman” rally. They don’t paint a pretty picture, with a crowd estimate of 15 protesters (contrasted with 35 media attendees), and choice quotes from attendees that seem to belie concern for women and children:
“Should we talk about his son?” one protester asked Green. “I believe his son was born out of wedlock. I believe there’s a term for that.”
“Is someone making jokes about his child?” asked another. “Especially, you know, when he had a daughter out of wedlock himself” (he didn’t; 5-year-old Harry is his only child).
“How dare he?” asked yet a third, the most offensive of all. “When he has a bastard son, and a slut for a wife” (Letterman’s wife Lasko has kept a notoriously low profile).
I asked event spokesman and filmmaker John Ziegler if he had anything to add: (via email)
Me: HuffPo reported attendance at 15 protesters, vs 35 media. Do you have an estimate? Also, any reactions/corrections (to the HuffPo story?)
John Ziegler: That number is absurd. I have no idea what the number was because we were on
Broadway for heaven sakes but I must have had 10 people ask for an autograph or
photo. I also really never cared about the numbers. I had nothing to do with
getting people out there. Unfortunately the firm that was hired to provide the
audio equipment did not provide a speaker and there was no way to gather the
crowd. Meanwhile the media sought out those that they thought would make the
event look as bad as possible and it split everything apart.
Clearly the media has decided this is over and for many reasons we were not able
to change that narrative.
Me: Are you more concerned with Letterman’s firing at this point, or keeping a spotlight on the issue?
John Ziegler: I just think it is a shame that it appears he is going to benefit from all of this. Even in apparent/perceived “defeat” we have exposed the blatant double standards that are at work here. Obviously the reason he is getting away with it is that the media considers anything negative about Palin and even her family to be fair game.
Ziegler also pointed out that the Fire Letterman website now has over 50,000 people on the mailing list in just 4-5 days.
While HuffPo might have underestimated, it doesn’t sound like the event was a huge success, even by Ziegler’s account. I’d chalk a lot of that up to Governor Palin’s acceptance of Dave’s new and improved apology.
As for seeking out troublemakers in the crowd, this is SOP for covering any protest. Singling out the quiet guy with the tasteful sign doesn’t seem all that newsworthy. Still, a more complete account would have included statements by the event’s speakers, not just the attendees.
I don’t agree that Letterman should be fired, but I can see how it would be galling to see him receive a boost from this. Fair or not, I think Dave went from villain to victim when the right continued to press the Willow Palin angle even after Letterman had clarified.
Hopefully, this episode will serve to make everyone more aware of how they talk about women and children.