Gabriel Elizondo (pictured) is a reporter who works for Al Jazeera. His current project: driving across America to "talk to people of all walks of life about the wide-ranging impact (or not) of 9/11 on American life." Sounds fishy.
Perhaps Gabriel Elizondo could get away with his little
terrorist scouting expedition
journalism project in liberal enclaves like Oklahoma. But in Texas? "Don't try to fool Texas about the motives of an Al Jazeera reporter," has been the state motto of Texas since 1846.
Here is Elizondo's hilarious (to liberal coastal elites) account of what happened when he decided to get some color by attending a random high school football game in tiny Booker, Texas. Everything is going just fine until he hands the school principal his Al Jazeera business card, prompting her to rush off and find the Superintendent, Michael Lee. Lee comes over to Elizondo with "a sharp glare" on his face and welcomes him to Booker:
"I think it was damn rotten what they did."
"I am sorry, what who did?" I say, not sure exactly if he was calling me rotten, the terrorists rotten, Al Jazeera rotten, or all of the above.
"The people that did this to us," he says back to me with a smirk, still glaring uncomfortably straight at my eyes.
"Well, I think it was bad too," I say. "Well, do you think, sir, we can film a bit of the game and talk to some people here about just that?"
"No. You can't film, you can't take pictures, or interview people."
"OK, can I ask why? And if you allow me can I explain…"
"No, I just expect that you will respect it."
What could be more American than having the entire concept of a "free press" covering a "public event" shut down thanks to pure ignorance? This is America, Mr. Elizondo. Welcome, and go to hell! Naturally, superintendent Michael Lee has written an official response in which he disputes Elizondo's impolite implications:
Booker is a community that has accepted diversity for decades, including many different faiths. I am sitting here listening to the music from our annual "Fiesta Night" that celebrates the unification of the many cultures that make up our community.
Lessee, "Elizondo," you speak Mexican, right? Fiesta en la ciudad de Booker! Booker loves Taco Day at the cafeteria!
Your move, Arizona.
Update: We'd originally written that Elizondo was "Brazilian-born." He emails to clarify: "I was not born in Brazil , I was actually born here in America . I just have lived and worked in Brazil for the past 5 years now, and I look sort of Brazilian and I "speak Brazilian" so many people assume I must be. (Which has forced me to resist the urge to respond to all the people who have told me to "Go back to where I came from" or "go home")"
Update 2: A reader who knows Mike Lee and the Booker school district writes: "In Mr. Lee's official response, he mentioned FERPA, and how he feared filming the students my violate the rules. Odd, because every year the semi-local news out of Amarillo goes to at least one of the games to cover it and filming does take place. None of this is mentioned to any of the students or attendees beforehand. I can also recall multiple times throughout elementary school where the weatherman from one of the local stations would show up to tell us about cumulonimbus clouds and film us for a story. No one was ever asked for consent to be filmed. So basically he's full of shit."
[Al Jazeera. Photo via Al Jazeera]