Paula Broadwell’s Paparazzi Is Camped Out In The Alley Behind My House
Tuesday. My roommate Roy charges into my room yelling about how our alley is full of paparazzi trying to get photos of Paula Broadwell. Turns out she is staying in her brother’s mansion just up the alley from our house. Roy says we should go up there and give some beer to the cameramen. After all, he says, they look “bored off their asses”.
No shit they look bored. Israel is getting ready to go to war in Gaza again and yet these dozen reporters have been assigned to wait in my alley, hoping to snap a shot of General Petraeus' mistress.
Lugging a case of PBR, we approach what looks like a very uneventful circus. All is calm and still. Then, one of the photographers spots Paula Broadwell in the kitchen window drinking a glass a wine. Immediately, the air is filled with the sounds of hundreds of clicks from cameras as they try to capture the unfolding scene. As a labor reporter who had just seen his hours cut down to part time due to budget cuts, I want the paparazzi to explain how doing this had any real news value.
“You know what’s interesting about this whole thing” says veteran AP photographer Cliff Owens. “Up until just this moment, the only news organization that had any footage of her or any pictures of her today was Fox”.
“But what’s so important about getting a photo of her?” I ask.
“It puts her here in DC.”
ABC News reporter Matthew Latronda chimes in “There's also an editorial angle to this in that we need to keep track of her. If people aren’t here and she slips away she will go away to who knows Kentucky and we will never see her again until she comes out with her lawyers.”
Beyond the obvious tabloid value of having a photo of Broadwell sipping wine, the reporters explain that they need to keep track of her for comment as the scandal unravels. It has been reported that Broadwell may have obtained classified information.
“What if two military cars pull up, army police officers get out and take her away” says Owen. “And what if nobody is here to tell you that that happened. The Army is not going to say we did that, nobody is going to know that happened.”
Just as I'm starting to think these reporters had a point that there is journalistic value in stalking Broadwell, the flurry of camera erupt again as Broadwell reappears in the window drinking her glass of wine.
“Oh she’s posing now” shouts one photographer.
“Take them off” jokes Owen as he snaps photos.
“Please give us our Princess Di picture” says another photographer.
“Hey guys, the mic is hot” ABC’s Latronda reminds the crowd.
Caught up in the excitement, as the cameras click away, I jump up on the curb to take a close-up photo of Broadwell with my iPhone.
Illustration by Gary Mar