Truck drivers slow down traffic on the highway A1 on Oct. 18, 2010, near Lille, France. American truckers plan a similar protest beginning Friday, according to organizers.
US News and World Report, continuing its successful effort to be even more of a rag than Time, reported yesterday:
Tractor-trailer drivers will intentionally clog the inner loop of the Washington, D.C., beltway beginning on the morning of Oct. 11, according to a coordinator of the upcoming "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" rally.Although I can see some potential chaos in this, the story isn't quite the way US News has written it.
Organizers of the three-day ride want to call attention to a litany of trucker frustrations and express their disapproval of national political leaders.
Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who is handling logistics for the protest, told U.S. News tractor-trailer drivers will circle the beltway "three lanes deep" as he rides with other participants to Congress to seek the arrest of congressmen for allegedly disregarding the Constitution.
The truckers circling I-495 will keep the left lane open for emergency vehicles, Conlon said, but "everybody that doesn't have a supporter sticker on their window, good luck: Nobody in, nobody out." The trucks will be going the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit.
D.C. commuters who wish to be allowed past the convoy must have "T2SDA" – an acronym for the event's original name, "Truckers to Shut Down America" – written on their vehicle, he said.
"It's going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter," Conlon said, "[and] if cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three lane roadblock."
Zeeda Andrews, a former country music singer helping promote the protest, said last week participants would present demands to congressmen – including the impeachment of President Barack Obama – and give the congressmen an opportunity to agree to the demands in exchange for canceling the ride.
Earl Conlon turns out not to be a truck driver. He did write a novel with this premise back in '08, though. So maybe he sees this as an opportunity.
Peter T. Santilli, who signs himself Media Spokesperson for RideForTheConstitution.org, sent this demand for a retraction to Steven Nelson, bylined in the US News article:
Steven, attached is a link to the audio of the conversation I just had with Earl Conlon.Well, Mr. Santilli, I do wish you the best of luck with that. But I don't think they're listening.
(1) Earl is not even a trucker, he was merely offering to organize the convoy as he has had previous experience.
(2) He has never been designated as a spokesperson, and it's apparent that his intentions are polar opposite the Ride For The Constitution's.
We hereby respectfully request a retraction or update on the article to indicate that Earl is in no way associated with the mission of the ride. He was merely a point of contact for drivers at a meeting place for the start of the convoy. Please immediately update the article so as not to create the false perception you have portrayed in your article. At this point, if you fail to make an immediate correction, we will have to inform all members of the media of this extreme example of yellow journalism that exists in the main stream[sic].
Not only has US News and World Report failed to issue a retraction or make any apparent edit of the story as of this post, but it has now been picked up in its original form everywhere from WTOP (DC newsradio), to Wonkette, USA Today, the Huffington Post, and Jalopnik. Google News currently shows 38 articles matching a search for "Earl Conlon".
Peter T. Santilli has one match, a Fox News article. But even there it looks like he's been tacked on to the earlier story.
I definitely agree with the bit about US News and the yellow journalism, but I'd say Mr. Santelli's got his work cut out for him getting the word out.
ETA: I forgot to add a link to the photo US News and World Report used! Of course, it's a photo from France.