I guess we'll start with the hotel. Ours is a shithole. A $250-a-night mildewy rathole for truckers and prostitutes on a decimated strip mall. Charlotte is the armpit of the south, a glorified half-dead exurb with some tall buildings planted in the middle. There are skeezy-looking tattoo shops everywhere, and none of the stores are open past midnight.
This convention! What a waste. I, for one, am not accustomed to sleeping in a room with mottled, smoke-damaged carpets and a skimpy lock that has clearly been jimmied dozens of times. I am not alone. My fellow journalists are appalled at the accommodations Charlotte has to offer us. According to the National Review, reporters from the Hill, Politico, and the Daily Caller (and we hear Huffington Post as well), have fled their hotels for more habitable options further from the city center. One NR reporter wrote:
The Knights Inn was the worst hotel I have ever seen, and I've stayed in many bad motels in my life. Two guys were dealing drugs in the room next to me, and a prostitute was working out of the parking lot. And this was in the early afternoon. The room itself was dirty, full of other people's stuff, etc.
I have never requested a hotel change in 3 years at NR. This was the first time I felt absolutely compelled.
It's not just the hotels. Our seats in the Time Warner Cable Arena are terrible! All we can see from our press perch is the outline of the speakers from the rear, obscured by a giant backdrop. There's not even a jumbotron for us to watch.
And the security is relentless. At every block, it seems, there is another police barricade. We are constantly stopped and asked to empty our pockets and open our bags for inspection. Just standing around yesterday, a Secret Service agent approached us and asked is what we were doing there, as though just standing on a street corner was a crime. It's a police state here—we can't escape their watchful eye and are constantly at risk of being stopped for no reason. It's intolerable.