secret service: Page 1
In cooperation with the Palin campaign, [the Secret Service has] started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd.
As could be expected, various "liberal" sites rushed to retransmit Milbank's claim; for instance it got almost 1000 comments at the HuffPost (huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/16/secret-service-blocking-r_n_135336.html).
However, the Secret Service denies that there's such cooperation (link), pointing out that members of the press are isolated as a matter of course.
And, Milbank was one of the originators of the "McCain's angry mob" meme, when on the 6th he claimed that an audience member at a Clearwater, Florida rally had shouted "kill him" (second link above). Although Milbank later pointed out that the remark had been made in relation to William Ayers - and as shown by a correct reading of his post - many others played dumb and assumed that the remark had been made about Barack Obama. If Milbank hadn't wanted to give the wrong impression or help start a meme he would have written the article in a different fashion.
Now, it turns out that the remark might have been made, or it might have been "tell him" instead (link). That's less clear-cut than the lie about the Secret Service, but based on the article's overall attempt to smear Sarah Palin and her supporters, it's certainly not impossible that Milbank simply made it up. Note also that there were two alleged instances of "kill him"; the second occurred in Scranton PA and didn't involve Milbank; the Secret Service has been unable to find any evidence that anything like that was shouted in Scranton (link).
Yesterday on his show, Rush Limbaugh said this about an event where he ran into Bill Clinton and someone else:
I shook his hand, he left, comes back, the mayor of Los Angeles, I thought it was a Secret Service agent, maybe a shoeshine guy. Turns out he gives me his card, I said, "Oh, my gosh, it's the mayor of Los Angeles." I stood up, I said, "Hello, Mr. Villaraigosa."
The evil airheads at ThinkProgress claim this is an "Ethnically-Charged Insult" (thinkprogress.org/2008/05/06/media-limbaugh-villaraigosa), when in fact it appears to have another explanation. I don't know whether Rush has clarified what he was thinking of, but a commenter on that TP thread points to this story from April in which a Missoula, Montana shoeshiner wanted to give Barack Obama a shoeshine and was told to back off by Secret Service agents. The meeting above occured months before the April incident, but both had already occured when Rush made the statement above.
For ThinkProgress, getting things wrong in this way is the normal course of affairs. One might think that someone working for Conde Nast Portfolio might not be just as bad, yet Jeff Bercovici of that site thinks different (portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media/2008/05/06/la-mayor-to-answer-limbaughs-race-swipe):
Hey, you know what's a riot? Comparing one of the country's foremost Latino politicians to "a shoeshine guy" because of his race.
Somehow I think the April incident is a much stronger explanation. Note also that neither TP nor CNP are discussing the endless line of Villar issues, from his past leadership of a racial separatist group to him congratulating former Mexican president Zedillo on helping block Prop. 187.
Sadly, Villar will apparently not be releasing a statement, but Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition has:
"What can I tell you? It's the same kind of nasty, bigoted, racist type of comment that has become so prevalent in today's society, as practiced by Lou Dobbs, as practiced by [Sean] Hannity, [Bill] O'Reilly, [Michael] Savage -- all these guys who are appealing to a particular bigoted audience, and fanning the fires of bigotry and racism by doing these kinds of things without real concern about the consequences of their words. And the consequences are that these kinds of comments have helped in raising the rate of crimes against Latinos 35 percent in last three years." (He attributes that figure to the FBI.) "These guys have no civility in their makeup, no compassion, and very little intelligence when it comes to opening their mouths."
Bercovici can't seem to get anything right. Whatever Nogales said, he wasn't referring to crimes in general but to hate crimes. And, as discussed at the link, the 35% was designed to deceive. A real reporter would have gotten the types of crimes right and would have looked into the statistics.