Sarah Palin is bringing her Going Rogue tour to Fort Bragg next week. The public is allowed to attend, but the Army tried to keep the press out.
Perhaps realising the illegality of this — allowing the public and banning journalists is generally frowned upon in a free press society — the Army recanted a bit. It is now letting a small pool of reporters “view and document” the event, but no interviews are allowed.
Palin will not be speaking, just signing books.
AP General Counsel Dave Tomlin said these restrictions are still “unlawful and unacceptable,” the report said.
This almost seems too preposterous to be true.
So the Army is allowing Sarah Palin to conduct a book signing on the grounds of a base, but is worried about it turning political?
Tomlin’s comment on that fairly sums it up: “If Army regulations forbid ‘political events’, the Army should have considered that before allowing Palin to hold a public autograph session for a political book on the base,” he said.
It’s also a fairly interesting comment from the Army that their concern is that the appearance of the press will turn it into “grandstanding” against Obama. Sure, people show off for cameras, but the Army is basically admitting that those who are coming to line up to see Palin will likely be those who showed up at her rallies — when she was running for that political office known as the vice-presidency.
Their comments indicate they knew it was going to be a political event, so a sinister mind might deduce that they just did not want coverage of it.
In truth, they probably knew the servicepeople would enjoy it, and that was their basis for hosting the event. But they should have thought ahead a little on this one.
If Army policy prevents “political events,” then it just should not have been allowed. Trying to bar the press — and even “just” limiting their access — is a cover-up, not an honest way to prevent the politicizing they are worried about.
Political or not, it is a free speech issue. If you open the doors to the public, you open the doors to the press. It’s just a tiny thing called the First Amendment.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.