Foreign journalists offer unique take on conventions
For Yifan Xu, the Washington correspondent for The China Press, covering the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions has offered her insight into both parties.
She said the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, was much better organized – the shuttles were more convenient, the press center better equipped and the screens in the arena also more visible.
At the DNC (July 25-28) in Philadelphia, journalists sitting in the general press area are looking at the back of speakers.
But Xu said that the RNC had no other activities for the press besides daily briefings, while the DNC has many caucus events, convenient for journalists to set up and do interviews.
The reporter for the Los Angelesbased publication noted an interesting phenomenon — that the DNC seems more controlled, with staff handing out placards but not allowing people to bring their own, which was permitted at the RNC.
“I saw a Sanders supporter get angry with this and change the slogan ‘Stronger Together’ from the organizer into ‘Stop Her’,” she said.
Xu also interviewed protesters on the streets. She believes that both parties are divided, especially the supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and Texas Senator Ted Cruz on the Republican side.
Xu, a Chinese citizen, said she is more inclined toward Republican candidate Donald Trump and was uncomfortable about Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness.
Several opinion polls in the US show that about two thirds of Americans believe Clinton is dishonest.
“I am not an American citizen, so I am basically just watching,” said Xu, who has been working 16 hours a day covering the conventions.
Danielle Ziri, a TV cameraman with Israel’s 124 News, also praised the RNC for better organization and easy access for journalists.
But she said the lineup of speakers at the DNC is better and more interesting.
Ziri was expecting a lot more chaos at the RNC with protesters but found that not to be the case. “Action is really at the DNC,” she said, referring to the tens of thousands of protesters descending on Philadelphia this week.
“We actually spoke to lot of the protesters. They were angry — Bernie voters who felt they have been let down,” she said.
Ziri, who has been working 18-hour days this week, said that the Sanders supporters were mostly angry after WikiLeaks posted emails from the Democratic National Committee “showing they are clearly in favor of Clinton from the very beginning”.
“For them (the Sanders supporters), that was very disturbing,” she said.
She described both conventions as “very interesting, the biggest moment for me as a journalist”.
Silvina Sterin Pensel, a correspondent for Argentina’s Todo Noticias, was amazed that the two parties have turned the conventions into “a Broadway show”.
“I enjoyed very much looking at the costumes both on the Republicans and now the Democrats,” she said, adding that only Americans can make boring and serious politics into “a spectacle, kind of a circus”.
Pensel said she enjoyed listening to “emotional” speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and US President Barack Obama and seeing and listening to Trump’s family members.
She also spent time on the streets with protesters but said it was peaceful.
For Pensel, an Argentinian who has become an American citizen, it will be the first time she is eligible to vote in a US presidential election.
Journalists cover the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.