- Soooo, you want to get into that exclusive
nightclub in your town? You want to interview that major drug kingpin (love
that word, kingpin) who rules the urban slum in your city? You want to
talk to your US Senator when he or she schedules a speaking tour through
your bumpstop town?
- Well, you need a handy-dandy press pass. With a few easily
obtainable materials, purchased at any office supply store, you too can
pose as a reporter from the Mainstream Media!
- Not that posing as a reporter is difficult to do. Thousands
do it everyday. Most of these posers actually get paid by huge pulp consumers
called newspapers. But you too can pose just as well-or Better!-than anyone
with a pad and pen or tape recorder.
- Okay. First of all, ask yourself WHY you would want to
pose as a reporter? Do you have a need to know, a desire to investigate,
a hunger to probe the dark side of the human mind and write about it?
- Because, once you assume the mantle of ace-reporter,
don the cloak of freelance journalist, buckle the belt of cloak-and-dagger
literary investigator, beware. You just might actually become one.
- Ten years ago, while living in LA, I met a reporter who
loved to crash parties. And LA always had lots of parties (still does)
every night. How did Holden do it? Why he simply called up the venue where
the party, film premiere, charity benefit, celebrity gala or awards ceremony
was being held and had his name added to the list.
- Not as a guest but as a member of the MEDIA.
- Amazingly, Holden (not his real name) always got inside,
and sometimes I would go along as his trusty Sancho Panza. Once we even
carried bulky cameras into an extraganza and filmed it, complete with interviews.
Guests couldn't wait to be "captured on film." They literally
fell all over themselves trying to get in front of the camera.
- Holden showed me his press passes and I was amazed that
he could pass through the velvet ropes almost without pause. Using these
simple bits of laminated paper, together with a passport photo, Holden
could get a person inside almost any event.
- So how do we make them, you say? Easy.
- But is it legal, you ask? Not sure, I answer.
- Could we be arrested, you ask? Probably, but then you
could be arrested for peacefully protesting with Cindy Sheehan. What was
- Is it legal to gather information, misrepresenting yourself?
If so, all intelligence agencies are guilty. At this moment, your very
own government is illegally gathering information and not ONE person involved
in the crime has been arrested. In fact, as public servants of YOU (you
pay them after all), our leaders defend their right to spy on you, pry
into YOUR personal life.
- So boogie on down to the local office supply depot. Get
a large sheet of plastic laminate. Maybe get two. Because once you start
laminating things you might not stop.
- Get a couple passport photos or, better yet, duck into
one of those booths at the arcade. Pay and pose and pay again until you
get the look you want. Or sort through your favorite photos and find one
you like with a neutral background.
- Next cut the picture about two inches square. Make sure
the job is neat. Even better, cruise on over to the local Kinkos and use
their handy cutterboard to make a professional-looking job.
- Having fun yet? Feeling kinda sleuthy?
- Okay. Now sit down before your computer or at the computer
in the local library. You need a computer with a printer. Go to Word Processing
and begin to write
- You need to write the words, MEDIA and maybe the date
(see photos) and, of course, your name and who you pretend to work for.
I chose the Kodiak Daily Mirror because I've actually sold a couple of
freelance columns to them. And I chose the Los Angeles Times because I
used to read the paper religiously, even appeared in their pages a couple
of times, and I liked the look of their masthead fount.
- But do these fake press passes work, you ask?
- Sure they do! On a recent trip across the USA I
posed as a working journalist in Alabama, New Orleans and Galveston, Texas.
The beautifully laminated press pass worked every time. People want to
talk to you, they really do.
- In New Orleans I breezed up to a patrol car on my mountain
bike, in the demolished Ninth Ward, and flashed my Kodiak Daily Mirror
press pass and started asking questions. Even had my handy-dandy tape recorder
and pen and pad. The bored officers were only too happy to respond to any
and all questions.
- Another wonderful attribute of a fake (or real!) press
pass is that it might save your hide-except in Iraq where journalists are
convenient moving targets. If you find yourself in some bad neighborhood
in any other city of the world, you might flash a press pass and escape
with a great story.
- Seems everyone wants to be a journalist, even if they
have to fake it. Like those two US Secret Service fellows who flashed
fake press passes and said they were---you guessed it---reporters
- But don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself
transformed. You may never become accepted by the mainstream media but
is that a bad thing? Instead, you might just become what you aspire to
be: A damn good journalist. Indeed, you might find yourself taking a measure
of pride in what you write, and not content to be the next great imposter.
- Genius, poseur or great imposter, Douglas Herman writes
for Rense and is the author of The Guns of Dallas.