مشکل با کنفرانس خبری

مجموعه: کتاب های فوق متوسط / کتاب: رنگ های اولیه / درس 3

کتاب های فوق متوسط

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مشکل با کنفرانس خبری

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Chapter 2 Trouble with the Press

Jack Stanton was the governor of a state in the southern United States. The biggest city in the state was Mammoth Falls. During the first few months of the campaign, I spent about half of my time there.

My best friend in Mammoth Falls was Richard Jemmons. He also worked for Stanton. He was very intelligent, very nervous, very thin, and always worrying. He worried about scandals. He used to call me several times a day.

“Did you hear anything, Henry? he asked one day. “I’m worried that the press is going to find something.” “What are they going to find?”

“That’s the problem. We don’t know! Maybe drugs! Maybe women! I think we should investigate Stanton. That way we’ll know about the bad things he’s done before the press does.” “We’re doing fine, Richard,” I said. “Stop worrying.” But Richard was right to worry. Our problems started after the first television debate in New Hampshire on January 17th.

When the debate was over I noticed one of Stanton’s workers talking to a tall journalist. She looked a little frightened, so I went to see what was wrong.

“Hi.” I said.

“Mr. Burton.” said the journalist, “maybe you can help me.

Was Governor Stanton arrested during the Vietnam War ?” The Vietnam War was something that we were worried about.

The Americans who had fought in it were the same age as Stanton. But instead of fighting in Vietnam, Stanton had stayed in America and protested against the war.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I can ask him and tell you later.” “All right.” He handed me a card that said Los Angeles Times.

I found Stanton with Susan and Uncle Charlie. He looked nervous. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” he said. We went outside and hurried across the snow.

The reporter was waiting for us by our van. “Governor Stanton,” he said calmly, “were you ever arrested in a protest against the Vietnam War ?”

“No,” said Stanton.

“Are you sure?”

“I protested against the war. Everyone knows that.” “But you weren’t arrested on August 16, 1968, in Chicago during a protest led by Abbie Hoffman?”

Stanton didn’t seem worried. “I wasn’t arrested. The police stopped me and then let me go. They made a mistake.” “So you weren’t arrested?”

“No. I was in Chicago visiting friends. I joined a protest. The police made a mistake.”

We got into the van and drove away.

That Saturday we drove through New Hampshire followed by two vans full of reporters. In a small town named Laconia I watched Stanton at work, shaking hands with people and listening to their problems. I watched an old woman put her arms around him. “You remind me of President Kennedy,” she said. “He came to Laconia too. You’re not as thin as he was, but you’re just as handsome.”

We were about to get back inside the van when a reporter ran up and said, “Governor Stanton, the Los Angeles Times says that you were arrested during a protest against the Vietnam war in 1968.”

“Yes, I know,” said Stanton. “The police stopped me, but they didn’t arrest me. They made a mistake.”

“The Los Angeles Times also says that you called a United States Senator who was a friend of yours. You asked him to tell the police to let you go.”

“I don’t know about that,” said Stanton.

The next morning we had breakfast in the Stantons’ hotel room.

There was coffee and eggs and bacon.

“The Los Angeles Times story is terrible,” said Susan. “Jack wasn’t a criminal.”

“No,” said my friend Richard, “but people think he was a criminal.”

“People don’t care about that kind of thing,” said Susan.

“The press cares about that kind of thing,” said Richard, “so we have to care about that kind of thing too. The problem is, we’re doing our jobs blind!”

“What are you talking about?” asked Susan.

Daisy Green, a thin, intelligent young woman who worked as one of Stanton’s advisors, answered. “I think Richard means that we need to know more about Governor Stanton, and not just the good things. We need to know the bad things too. That way we’ll be more prepared to answer questions from the press.” “You mean we need a detective to investigate my husband?” asked Susan.

“Yes,” said Richard.

My pocket telephone rang.

“Hello?”

“Henry!” I recognized the voice of one of Stanton’s campaign workers. “I’m waiting for Stanton. He’s about to come out of a church, but there are at least forty journalists here. They’ve all read the Los Angeles Times story and they’re waiting to ask him about what happened in Chicago.”

“Okay, listen,” I said. “Go in and tell him the press is outside.

Tell him to act like he has nothing to hide, okay?” “Thanks, Henry.”

I put my telephone away. “The press is waiting for him,” I said.

“They’re going to ask him about Chicago.” “You see, Susan?” said Richard. “We need to know about things like Chicago. We’re blind right now.” ♦

It was rainy and cold that evening when Daisy knocked on my hotel door.

“Are you still awake?” She pushed past me, sat down on my bed and turned on my TV. “The television in my room is broken.” “Daisy,” I said. “I’m really tired.” “Then go to sleep.”

I did. But when I woke up an hour later, Daisy was lying next to me, her hand on my chest.

“Stanton’s arrest in Chicago was on the news,” she said.

“Richard’s right. We need someone to investigate Stanton.” Then she kissed me. It was our first kiss and it went on for a long time. Finally she stopped and said, “I don’t think the Los Angeles Times story will hurt Stanton.”

The next morning Richard, Daisy, and I met with Susan Stanton in her hotel room.

“Okay” Susan said slowly. “We’ll investigate Jack, but we’ll tell him about it. And we’ll get Libby Holden to do it.” “Libby Holden?” asked Richard.

Susan nodded.

“Is she okay? Is she out of the hospital?” Susan nodded.

“Is she still crazy?”

Susan just smiled.

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