Yesterday, "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" media spokesperson Peter T. Santilli requested that Steven Nelson of US News & World Report update his article to reflect that Georgia trucker Earl Conlon is not a spokesperson for the patriot trucker group.
The Examiner spoke to co-founder Ben Pam, who expressed frustration with the coverage, but has "no hard feelings" for Mr. Conlon. Pam stated that
"this is about the working class getting run over by a political elite who do not know and do not care what ordinary people are going through."
Nelson reported yesterday that the truckers plan to "arrest" congressmen and slow down traffic for their pilgrimage to D.C. taking place on October 11-13. Earl is justifiably outraged about the elected officials' disregard for the Constitution, but he not reflect the group's mission.
In an email to Nelson posted on the trucker's official website yesterday, Santilli said in part,
"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."
Despite the strongly worded email, Nelson used Conlon as a source again in a new article today titled, "Truckers Change Mind, Won't 'Arrest' Congressmen." This title is inaccurate, as the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" never intended on "arresting" anybody.
The shocking thing about Nelson's article is that even after the organizers clarified on Facebook, and on their official website, and in an exclusive interview with the Examiner, as well as in a personal email to Nelson, his article from today continues to use quotes by Conlon.
"News coverage of a trucker protest seeking to clog the roads in and around Washington, D.C., this weekend prompted a schism between the ride's leaders."
But there is no "schism." There never was.
As co-founder Ben Pam of the 'Truckers Ride for the Constitution' told the Examiner yesterday in an exclusive interview,
"We do not intend to obstruct traffic or close down any roads."
"We are not coming to arrest anyone."
The author of the piece, Steven Nelson graciously responded to a request for comment. He said,
"I did not identify Conlon as a spokesman in either article, I identified him as an organizer, which everyone admits he was as of Monday morning."
Nelson cited a post on the 'Ride for the Constitution' website that said, "All truckers in this RIDE are directed to Earl Conlon, he is in charge." Of course, this makes sense, as Santilli wrote in his email to Nelson yesterday that Conlon is "a point of contact for drivers."
Nelson said, "Conlon claims the idea for truckers heading to D.C. was his. I haven't heard a denial of that yet. Peter Santilli is not actually going to be in D.C. and he is not a trucker." But Nelson did not speak to the founders of the Truckers group, Ben Pam and Zeeda Andrews, as confirmed today by the Examiner.
Further, Nelson stated,
"The issue at hand isn't so much about my coverage... it's more an issue of in-fighting among the organizers. Squabbling over who the 'official spokesperson' is seems pretty silly to me. The designated organizer of the trucker trek to D.C. is arguably better suited to answer press questions than an online radio host who isn't actually going to be in town."
As Ben Pam confirmed to the Examiner, there is no infighting. There is no 'squabbling.' Peter T. Santilli is a radio host, and he is the "media spokesperson." In fact, the leadership of the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" is as united as ever to bring awareness to Americans about the plight of the truckers, and to exercise their First Amendment rights. The group wishes "to awaken the American People to the complete disregard for the Constitution and to bring a message to Congress that We The People demand to be heard."
The idea resonates, as in the past 24 hours, the Facebook page has acquired approximately 17,000 "likes," bringing Facebook supporters to over 67,000 at the time of this writing. Although the Twitter account was suspended, as reported by the Examiner, the hashtag for the truckers, #T2SDA is still going strong.
Zeeda Andrews is giving updates at 9:00 pm eastern time Mon thru Thurs at the Trucker's official website, "Ride for the Constitution." To call in and speak with Zeeda, the number is 218-862-9829.
To make donations for food and fuel for the truckers, click here.