Scranton death threat against Obama unsupported

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A Secret Service investigation has yet to identify a source to support allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s name was mentioned at a Sarah Palin rally in Scranton this week.

Charges that someone had made the death threat during Tuesday’s rally originally appeared in an article by Dave Singleton of the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Although no other media outlet initially reported hearing the threat, Singleton’s story quickly became  international news, even prompting a rant by liberal commentator Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. The Calgary Sun tied it to Rep. John Murtha’s remark that Pennsylvania was a “racist state.”

The report also prompted an investigation by the Scranton office of the Secret Service, which interviewed more than 20 members of the media and others who attended the event, according to an article in The Times Leader. Singleton was the only one who reported hearing the death threat, though he could not give a description of the man he claimed made the remark.

Times-Tribune Managing Editor Lawrence K. Beaupre said that the newspaper stands by its story: “He heard what he heard. He reported what he heard.”

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1 Response to “Scranton death threat against Obama unsupported”


  1. 1 btenazas October 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    It’s this sort of thing that affects the credibility of a medium. I remember Kim Pavlick telling me that none of the broadcast news media picked up on the comment when they were covering the event live. If the entire world picked up on the story from a single reporter that hasn’t been validated, doesn’t that call the newspaper’s credibility into question for publishing an unverified, controversial statement that no other reporter heard?


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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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