By Gary P Jackson
On Friday we published an article talking about patriot riders of Rolling Thunder praising Sarah and Todd Palin's acceptance to ride in their event Sunday to raise awareness of former P.O.W.s and those still missing in action.
Rolling Thunder is a wonderful organization full of real patriots, and Sarah Palin, the mother of an Iraq War veteran, as well as a former Commander-in-Chief of two military forces supports the military, and military charities regularly.
Sadly, Rolling Thunder's "legislative director," Ted Shpak, instead of checking with others, ran to the nearest MSNBC cameras and started trash talking.
Long story short, Shpak created a real mess. Even as we reported Nancy Regg had confirmed days ago that Sarah and Todd had been invited, the damage to the organization, and Sarah Palin's reputation was being done.
Now it seems Rolling Thunder's media director, Christine Colborne, has set the record straight. Yes, Sarah and Todd were invited to ride. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air was able contact Colborne and set the record straight:
After I read this story last night, I got in contact with Christine Colborne, who handles the media for Rolling Thunder. She explained that Shpak didn’t know that Palin had been indeed invited to ride at the event. The invitation came from a retired board member, Michael DiPaolo, who had connections in Alaska and got Palin to agree to attend.
Requests for high-profile personalities to attend the event are not new. Colborne mentioned that actor Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) attended at least one of the Rolling Thunder events, as have other celebrities, usually just to ride with a lower profile. Most times, though, those requests don’t even get responses, let alone acceptances. That’s a shame, because the Rolling Thunder event highlights the issues surrounding American POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War and later conflicts, as well as providing support to their families, who really need the emotional support they get from this group of volunteer veterans.
Colborne spoke with me on the phone in the middle of an all-night car ride to Washington DC, and explained that the last-minute RSVP didn’t get communicated through the echelons of Rolling Thunder. Everyone is either in transit or already in DC, and internal communication broke down as often happens before a major event. Shpak (and Colborne) were taken by surprise by Palin’s announcement. Shpak does have the authority to speak for the organization, Colborne says, but he had no idea that Palin was invited by DiPaolo, and Shpak worried that Palin’s arrival might be a “big distraction” from the issues on which Rolling Thunder wants people to focus. Obviously, Shpak — a Vietnam veteran himself — feels passionate about defending the organization, but went on NBC with faulty information. Shpak, Colborne, and almost everyone else at Rolling Thunder are volunteers, just ordinary people doing extraordinary work, and that means they get the occasional hiccup.
Read more here.
Ed is too kind. Having worked events that need coordination, and a bit of media savvy, one thing I learned the hard way is to never go shooting one's mouth off before one has all the facts.
Now I may be wrong, maybe Shpak made a good faith effort to contact someone.... anyone .... to see if the Palin's had been invited, and got no answer, or even a faulty answer. What I don't get though is why Shpak went directly to the most far left "news" organization on the planet to spout off. What purpose did it serve? Having a high profile leader attending your event is not a "big distraction." The reason people like Sarah Palin are invited to these events is to help spotlight them. BTW, these events are open to any and all, and no invitation is needed.
Now we have an entire issue surrounding an event that is all about honoring our nation's heroes.
The members who ride with Rolling Thunder are incredible. They do great work. That's why this entire event makes me sad.
I could go on and on about speculating if Shpak has a political agenda.I could speculate why Shpak went to MSNBC, a company whose CEO is in bed with the Obama regime, and runs hit pieces on Sarah Palin daily. I could also go on and on about the amount of positive attention having a world leader like Sarah Palin in attendance brings. What I really want to know though is who does Sarah Palin need to see to get her reputation back?