Journalists On Trail Of Clinton Wedding Rumor

Rhinebeck, N.Y., about 100 miles north of New York City, is preparing for the rumored wedding of Chelsea Clinton to her longtime boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, on Saturday. But nobody knows for sure if the event will actually take place there. Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been tight-lipped about their daughter's nuptials.

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Four-hundred high profile guests will descend on the small town of Rhinebeck in New York's Hudson Valley tomorrow. They're going to watch Chelsea Clinton marry her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky, or at least that's the word on the street. The Clintons haven't confirmed anything about the wedding beside the date. Anyone involved with the event has reportedly signed a confidentiality agreement. Not even the guests were told exactly where they're going. That's left Rhinebeck packed with journalists who don't really know what the story is.

NPR's Brian Reed is one of them.

BRIAN REED: For a guy who's been publishing a newspaper out of his house for just a year and a half, Jim Langan sure is getting a lot of attention.

Mr. JIM LANGAN (Newspaper Publisher): ABC, CBS, Good Morning America, Spanish television, Italian television, Vanity Fair Spain who knew there was a Vanity Fair Spain?

REED: Langan broke the story in the local weekly paper here - the Hudson Valley News - that the former first daughter and her investment banker fiance are getting hitched at an estate on the outskirts of this 3,000-person village. And because the Clintons are being so tightlipped, journalists who come to Rhinebeck from around the world are pretty much taking Langan at his word.

He can barely go five minutes without getting a phone call.

Mr. LANGAN: Can I answer this phone? Hello? Okay, one second. This is "Entertainment Tonight" and it will just take two seconds.

REED: There aren't enough rooms in the area for all the press. So somehow Langan got talked into letting five Italian journalists crash at his house for the weekend.

By the time he hangs up with "Entertainment Tonight," their correspondent Diane Dimond has snagged herself a room there too for a price.

Downtown Rhinebeck consists of two streets and one stoplight. One resident described it as one of those tiny villages you'd see in a model railroad set. Except now it has camera crews swarming all over it.

Mr. PEPE FEMIA(ph) (Beekman Arms Inn): Oh Lord.

REED: Pepe Femia is standing outside the Beekman Arms Inn looking a little perplexed. Femia has mowed the grass there every week for 31 years. But this week, with one TV station after another shooting in front of the lawn, not so easy. He's been waiting for two hours.

Have people asked you not to mow? They've said, please don't...

Mr. FEMIA: Well, they had until ten 'o clock, but they're still here, but no, they came. They want five minutes and it's just it's ongoing, you know, and I would like to get it mowed, really, you know, or...

Ms. KATHY ROSE(ph): Those girls on TV, my God, they don't weight anything. Every time I see one of those skinny broads in one of those outfits, I think to myself, TV.

REED: Kathy Rose lived in Rhinebeck for 35 years.

Ms. ROSE: And they're grasping at straws here. You know, looking for something to record. And there isn't much to record.

(Soundbite of laughter)

REED: If you were one of those girls and you were sent here and told, do a story on this, what would you do the story on?

Ms. ROSE: I'm not sure there is one.

REED: Rose got a point. Every business owner or employee I talked to had already been interviewed at least twice. A real estate agent told me he's seen a rash of fender benders because people have been gawking at the television crews instead of watching the road. A receptionist at his office has been taking pictures of every member of the media she can. I was number 52.

Brian Reed, NPR News.

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