The Media's Underbelly

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Those in the South Dakota political communications world have seen the media's dark side in the coverage of ailing Sen. Tim Johnson, and they don't like it.

Like every reporter in town today, I called around some South Dakota political offices to see what was happening on the story and got an earful about how sick the press was. While even state Republicans are focused only on the health of the Democrat stricken with a bleeding brain, the press has naturally been concentrating on the what ifs┬ľnotably that if Johnson resigns or worse, will the state's Republican governor name a Republican? And if so, how would power shift again on Capitol Hill?

"I've seen the underbelly of the press," said one South Dakota spokesman on Capitol Hill. Another said that a reporter had asked the governor's office to reveal whom he planned to name to replace Johnson. "You guys are sick," he said.

Need more proof of the media frenzy? Below are four photos of the scene outside George Washington University Hospital taken during a lull yesterday. You'll see a bank of cameras and microphones and even a satellite truck. And parked on Washington Circle park is another media staging ground, where even more trucks and cameras are stationed.