Monday, August 02, 2004
So far this story has only appeared in The New Standard and E&P. The short version of the story is that Dick Cheney's people, citing security concerns, demanded to know the race of a photographer, Mamta Popat, who was assigned to cover Cheney in Arizona, presumably, because she has a non-Western sounding name. From E&P:
A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in Arizona asked Teri Hayt, the Arizona Daily Star's managing editor, to disclose the journalist's race on Friday. "It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted," Hayt later commented. "One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information. Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don't know."
Hayt said this is the first time in her 26-year career that a journalist's race was made an issue.
[ ... ]
Journalists covering the president or vice president must undergo a background check and are required to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. "That's all anybody has been asked to provide," said Hayt.
Bush-Cheney organizer Christine Walton, according to the newspaper, told Hayt that Popat's race was necessary to enable the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name. "It was a very lame excuse," Hayt said.
Popat said, "My race shouldn't have anything to do with my job."