Doubt Cast On ‘Kill Him’ Palin Rally Report


A story by a Scranton Times-Tribune reporter that someone shouted “kill him!” about Barack Obama at a Sarah Palin rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Tuesday is now in doubt. The rival Wilkes-Barre Times Leader now reports that not a single person interviewed by the Secret Service heard the outburst.

More here.

  • jchem

    This is why I made my comment on the last post concerning this. They made this claim in such an off-handed matter, as if to say “oh by the way, someone shouted ‘kill him’ here too”. You wanted me to give the reporters a break, considering they were live-blogging the rally, and that’s fair. But this off-handedness came in their summary, presumably after having looked at their notes. This just seems like poor journalism to me. If they were to have a recording device of any kind, then there would be no room for disagreement. If these types of claims are going to be brought up, then their needs to be more than just a reporter saying it.

  • Marlowecan

    “Poor journalism,” Jchem?

    This is bloody appalling.

    In other words: the reporters made the story up.

    The MSM and the liberal blogosphere were howling with rage for days at McCain for encouraging assassination. This article fed into that rage.

    I must say, the sheer similarity between the Times-Tribune story and the published accounts of the now-questioned initial incident raised a red flag on this story with me. But, bizarrely, I figured reporters wouldn’t simply make it up, would they?

    McCain-Palin don’t need any help in driving their campaign off the pier. But it seems, to make absolutely sure of an Obama victory, the MSM made sure to cut the brake line and liberally douse the interior with whisky.

    BTW: Kudos to Shaun for following up on this story. One of the sad aspects of Right/Left stories is that . . . when something doesn’t fit one’s narrative . . . one ignores it. Liberal blogs raged over the initial incident, but few will report on this follow-up. That Shaun is an exception to this rule deserves kudos.

  • jchem

    OK Marlowecan, ‘poor journalism’ is indeed a complete understatement. My point is that if claims such as these are to be made by anybody, they need to be backed up with clear evidence. Surely a journalist would know this? Perhaps the Secret Service should be asking both of the reporters a few questions..

  • Marlowecan

    “My point is that if claims such as these are to be made by anybody, they need to be backed up with clear evidence.”

    Jchem, I am in full agreement with you. . .perhaps I am just surprised at my surprise that a reporter would make up such a story whole cloth.

    You know, this sort of story gives me the heebie-jeebies for . . . having read a lot of history . . . it is precisely this sort of bizarre background that would actually be behind an assassination. Assassinations, whether Lincoln’s or Franz Ferdinand’s or Kennedy’s, never seem to be “straight line” affairs, but involve surreal twists and turns.

    As if reading, in a mid-21st century history text, of the assassination of President Obama because the crazed assassin was initially prompted to his act after reading stories about the popularity of killing Obama among right-wing crowds. . . that ironically were mistaken or made up by reporters.

    Such are the twists of history. Perhaps there is now reason to be worried.

  • shaun


    Thank you, but . . .

    For the time being we have to take the reporter who did the follow-up at his word, but it should be noted — and I did note it — that the two papers are rivals, in fact rather ferocious rivals because they more or less go after the same reader base.

    Methinks that while the Wilkes-Barre reporter may indeed have gotten an Secret Service agent to say that no one interviewed had heard the outburst, there may have been an ulterior motive. That is to embarrass the rival Scranton paper.

    Note further that the agent said that no one had heard the outburst who had been interviewed, but it was not mentioned whether interviews were continuing.

    This story may not be over.

  • jchem

    Marlowecan, you present a pretty scary scenario, and I will agree that most significant events always seem to involve these sorts of surreal twists and turns.

    Shaun, these papers may very well be rivals, but something like this? This is pretty scary stuff they’re “reporting”, and again, I just fail to understand how a reporter doesn’t happen to have some sort of recording device exactly for this sort of thing, especially since it has been reported before. Could you imagine how different this story would be if there was actual audio/video all over the Internet and the TV right now?

  • CStanley

    I agree that it’s commendable that Shaun didn’t just ignore the developments in this story.

    Also agree with Marlowe and jchem that it’s beyond the pale if the reporters made up these comments. Dana Milbanks story now apparently is that he thought the person yelling that was referring to Bill Ayers, and didn’t think that much of it. Some reports now say that what has been shouted multiple times at these events is “tell him” or “tell it:, as in the crowd cheering on the candidates or their surrogates for raising issues that are important to them.

    I don’t know what really happened, but the “Kill him” shouts never did ring true to me (not that it’s completely out of the question…but the tapes that have shown were a fa cry from the angry lynch mobs that were forming in the media narratives, and this appeared to be an attempt to provide some detail to convince people that the anger was really boiling over.)

    I said in another thread- if it turns out that these journalists have fabricated, I hope they realize that their actions are akin to making hoax 911 calls. Furthermore, I would hope the scenario that Shaun posits isn’t really happening, because it would also be reprehensible if one journalist lies about something of such seriousness in order to embarrass a rival.

  • CStanley

    Could you imagine how different this story would be if there was actual audio/video all over the Internet and the TV right now
    What’s bizarre is that when the first alleged incident was reported, I asked if anyone had heard audio of it, and one commenter kept insisting that he had (I think it was Silhouette.) He said it was all over MSNBC, and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow were discussing it and he’d actually heard the tape as had others. I called foul on that claim, as no tape was on their website and I can’t imagine that someone would have hacked onto MSNBC to remove it nor that MSNBC would have any motive to take it down.

    It’s just bizarre (and a bit frightening) what the power of suggestion can do….making people think they’d actually heard something even though they only heard other people talking about it. It’s a bit like the kids game of telephone, too, the way messages get distorted in the telling.

  • shmoopatties

    Someone painted “Death Obama” on the chimney of an Upper Arlington house that has a yard sign declaring “Another UA Citizen for Obama.”

  • dmf

    wait, so… a bunch of palin supporters won’t cop to hearing the death threat… and now reporters are evil make-stuff-uppers…?