Professor LawDog’s School of Mayhem and Survival

Good morning, class.

Today’s lesson is about a wee bit of social engineering that should be a part of your glove box in your vehicle, or your bug-out bag.

It is:  the Media Pass.

Easily found by simply inserting the search term “media pass template” into any search engine, a Media Pass (or Press Pass) is an inexpensive, low-bulk item that can — note the use of the word “can” — get you out of medium- to large-scale “social unrest situations”.

This little darling has been used as far back as the 1970s to smooth the way through more than one coup d’etat.

Your template needs to have the following:

1)  MEDIA and/or PRESS in big block letters;

2)  About a quarter of the surface in a contrasting, eye-buzzing “LOOK AT ME” colour;

3)  Your picture; and

4)  The word “FREELANCE”.

We use the “Media” and/or “Press” for obvious reasons; the contrasting colour, less so.

In the situations where we will need this — demonstrations, random mobs, demonstrations disguised as random mobs, etc., the emotions of the people you will be encountering will be running a skoshy bit on the high-side.  Adrenaline, endorphins, teenage hormones, all will be rampaging about, and will be having various effects upon the visual acuity of the participants.

When the pimply-faced, patchouli-reeking, little antifa hippie has tunnel-vision from the excitement, the bright colour will help to draw his eye to the pass — where he will be able to actually read the word “Press” or “Media”.

Your picture is there to give the pass the appearance of propriety.

No matter how tempting, don’t put the name of a big Media Corporation on your Press Pass.  If there are representatives from a big corporation there, you can get snitched out in a hurry; big media corporations can get (civilly) irritated with you pretending to represent “their good name” (har, har, har); and last, but probably most importantly — some demonstrators in these Current Unpleasant Times consider Big Media Corporations to be part of the [Insert Catchy Noun Here] That They’re Fighting Against, thus drawing unwanted attention.  Use “Freelance” instead.

The utilisation is quite simple.

You find yourself staggering out of a watering hole, having enjoyed a fine evening of companionship to the point that you missed the warning signs of an imminent Mass Social Disruption, and you find that not only have the protesters spun themselves up into a Righteous Passion, but the local gardai have put up barriers and blockades to the point that climbing into your pickup and taking the crunchy way out is contra-indicated.

Reach into your glove box, grab your Media Pass, a notebook, and a writing instrument; stare purposefully at the crowd/mob/ demonstration/ riot, and move along the periphery of the crowd/ mob/ demonstration/ riot, pretending to take notes, and waving your Media Pass at anyone who takes notice of you.

As soon as you get to a point where you can duck, disengage, and Beat Feet Away From The Stupid, do so.  If there’s a barricade in front of your Newest Favourite Alley, waving your Media Pass at the cops manning said barricade will frequently get you past it.

Now, remember two things:  1)  Don’t put your name on your Media Pass.  There’s a good chance it will fall off — or get ripped off — and now the demonstrators and/or local police have a record of your presence at the riot.  That’s a good way to invite a sub poena.

2)  I said to grab a notebook and a writing instrument for a good reason.  Several folks will opine that you should be waving your cell-phone about to properly blend in with freelance media.  Don’t do this.  If you lose your cell-phone, there’s too much personal data on there for comfort.  Also, taking pictures of folks out for some freelance socialism gets their attention — which is exactly what we don’t want.

Pretend that you are Carl Kolchak.  Scribble furiously, and cut and run at the first opportunity.

Thus endeth today’s lesson.


Audio Book II
Oh, lawdy, lawdy, lawdy

20 thoughts on “Professor LawDog’s School of Mayhem and Survival”

  1. Hmm…must add this to my growing bag of tricks. Got a good one from G Ellifritz yesterday too. The bag trick.


  2. At one time, there was probably some credibility with those with such passes. Today? It's more like a clown parade with an official Bozo certificate.

  3. My favorite pickup truck had a genuine press sticker on the windshield right where the new style New Hampshire inspection stickers go. Working for the local cat box liner as a photographer it was actually legit. (I've seen 'selective reporting' from the inside.) Our humble scribes idea is a good one. I shall be implementing it as soon as I'm at my computer on Monday. I might suggest improving its credibility by having it laminated at your local office supply store and getting a breakaway neck lanyard so it looks like part of your everyday kit. Scruff it up some too so it looks like it's been around a while.

  4. Excellent! I have found a Clipboard, Measuring Tape and Clean White Hard Hat to be very handy also.

  5. Outstanding as always Mr Dog! Now… lets see what Bing has to say about Press Pass Template…

  6. Genius.

    I note, purely for informational purposes, that the brick and mortar Barnes & Noble hereabouts sells the Offishul "Reporter's notebook", the long, tall skinny type, for about $10, just the size to fit in a glovebox.

    Next to my freelance press pass.
    And a cheap but serviceable handheld miniature voice recorder.
    And a 50¢ pen.

    I already keep a similar cheap but serviceable digital camera there, for the random traffic collision I might be invited to.

    "In nomine Sanctus Deus Busybody, I proclaim you are heretofore and henceforth a member of the Holy Order of Journalistic Scribes. Amen.

    I also note that the agency frequently referred to as "Christians In Action", has – and had – a long and distinguished history of not covering their employees as agents of legitimate American press, like ABCNNBCBS.
    Making up spurious American agencies, either on spur-of-the-moment, or by adequately backstopping the ruse, or posing as Canadian/Anglosphere/foreign press agents was still considered well within the bounds of Marquis of Queensbury Rules.
    >cough< I hear.

    I note further that websites are cheaply obtained, and easily checked in the field, yet may be enough to pass a cursory check, in the moment, if they are included on the back of your creds.

    Sincere thanks for the reminder.

    P.S. When making your credentials, don't forget that WalMart and Le Boutique Targét both sell the ultimate blessing of the Goddess Busybody for same, the sealable laminate coating, in the stationary and office supplies aisle.

    P.P.S.: For those going the clipboard and hardhat route, an old thermos, and a well-battered orange hi-vis vest that has been stored under your greasy jack after you wore it for cattle roping or being dragged behind a car is the sine qua non of the effect. Whereas a pristine one still bearing store-bought creases screams "poseur".

  7. Oh, and like websites, a small quantity of business cards carry a bona fide weight far beyond their actual price, as countless episodes of The Rockford Files, and more than a few personal experiences have confirmed.

    This is the point where a nickname in lieu of your actual first name is handy for ID'ing you without *ID*ing you, providing you don't go with something like "Tater Salad". I hear "Junior" and "Tiny" are the rage thereabouts, but once again, When In Rome…

  8. Enjoyed the "Gardai" reference… or was I the only one to get that? 🙂

  9. Brilliant piece, amigo! I confess to attending a paid-only event (once, only) with my large orange "media" badge around my neck. No one, and I mean NO ONE, gave me a second look. Being that power corrupts, I have not repeated the experience, but… confession time. I've been tempted!

  10. That "power corrupts" is the exact reason you don't allow your opponents to monopolize it.

  11. A US Navy hard hat and clipbooard let me wander around the bridge of an aircraft carrier at a time when I had no business being there.
    Nowadays I have my own thick aluminum clipboard and my hard hat is somewhere around here…

  12. Carl Kolchak, Night Stalker, was a TV hero of mine, long ago.
    Thanks for the memories of sewer beasts, lycanthropes in the big city, and undead horrors stalking the countryside, without a government conspiracy covering up the aliens or a parallel world inhabited by glittery teen vampires.

  13. Carry a clipboard and walk with intent, mid level military nco's have been using this scam for many years.

  14. Off to get some passport photos taken. God bless desk top publishing and sneaking friends.

    I've gotten into more than one concert by wearing a hardhat, old vest and carrying a Fluke DMM. "Do you have any idea how many amps you're pulling?!?" got me past many a roadie and guys wearing a black "security" tees. The sound tech won't fall for that.
    Have an old ID case from my LE days. A dummied up photo ID on one side and a fancy logo on the other and I've walked into at least 3 areas I had no business in. But damn … I got some great photos!

  15. For God’s sake, NEVER use the term “freelance.”
    That’s like broadcasting “I’m at best a total yokel wanna-be, more likely a narc,” And it’ll get you hurt, or worse.
    It’s a term that was already obsolete in the 1970’s so your best tactic remains, “Get The F*** Out Of There!”
    You can do no good in a situation where the irrational rule but yet you risk becoming a casualty.
    Go home.

  16. Hey Prof,
    Good idea on press creds. Many people seem to forget that Benjamin Franklin's "press creds" were simply "I'm an American citizen observing life and relaying my thoughts about what I see". However, there may be situations *today* where a badge that says "Press" will short-circuit someone's "You can't do that" response and default to deference to implied authority.
    I note that the "Constitution First Amendment Press Association" ( has downloadable templates for press creds in .pdf form.
    I'm not associated with this site/organization, I simply point it out as a potentially useful thing to know.
    The site says they charge no fees for membership and keep no records of membership–indeed, I can find no place on the site to even register yourself as a member. Apparently, membership is in spirit only as expressed by your willingness to click on the "I agree" (to their pledge) and "I accept" (the terms and conditions) links and use their templates. Again, this seems much in the tradition of Freedom of the Press in Benjamin Franklin's day.
    The CFAPA "Pledge" is basically a set of ideals to strive for. No one–no one–can meet all these ideals all the time, so I take it as the heroic archetype that one tries to emulate.
    The CFAPA "Terms and Conditions" are written in polite legalese understandable to anyone of average intelligence. IANAL, but the gist seems to be "Don't be a dick" and "If you do act dickish, you can't hold us accountable for you being a dick."
    — Screwtape

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