We are, all of us, potential Citizen Journalists. All it takes is for you to find yourself in a situation that demands to be reported, or to discover something that others must be made aware of, while there's still time. Those who would have us remain silent have tried to train us to self-censor, to refrain from speaking and reporting what we see, what we know, and what we suspect. That's why it is essential to pay attention to everything, especially things that seem out of place, like a sudden change of security procedures in the tower where you work, or the pictures splashed on the screen behind a candidate for President...
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Leslie swallowed, clicked Play, and counted the heartbeats pounding in her ears as she breathed.
Greg, the citizen journalist site’s lead editor stared at the screen, his jaw slack and his face growing paler by the second. He grimaced, glanced over at Leslie, and nervously closed the laptop’s lid while the video was still running.
“Are you on crack?” he said sharply. “What are you doing with a video of John McCain shilling for a bunch of terrorists? Do you want to get the site shut down, to have us all dragged off to Gitmo, or worse? Who made this, anyway?”
“I did. Don’t you recognize the footage?”
“The…? Look, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing here, but --.”
She laid a splayed hand on the laptop protectively. “It’s no game. I edited that up from his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.”
“Right. And I suppose all that inter-cut footage of 9/11 and a slew of other disasters is supposed to make me ignore the fact that he’s flanked by a bunch of armed goons in some dingy warehouse somewhere?”
“Actually, no. It’s supposed to make you ignore the sloppy job I did rearranging what he said. The goons are to make you think it’s real.”
Greg motioned for her to move her hand, and re-opened the lid. “Then it’s not an actor?”
Leslie laughed humorlessly. “No. That’s McCain.”
“Green screen. I was sitting there during his speech, trying to figure out why they used that weird picture for a backdrop.”
“You mean the one of the Walter Reed Middle School?”