UNEXPECTED REACTIONS

Posted in Rants on October 19th, 2010 by Ed

By now I'm sure you've heard this story about private security working for Teabagger Senate candidate Joe Miller (R-AK) handcuffing and detaining a credentialed reporter for attempting to ask the candidate a question. The reporter was not injured and, I shit you not, he was freed by the police when they arrived to politely inform Joe Miller's private security that they can't handcuff and detain reporters. The incident has predictably brought Miller negative attention.

The most shocking thing is that the right-wing media have harshly condemned the behavior of Miller and his staff. The Weekly Standard referred to the security personnel as "assailants." Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller called them "thugs" who "roughed up" the reporter. Sean Hannity, of all people, noted, "By the way, I want to just – this is the part where you're holding up your credentials. He's obviously getting in your face. He's being overly aggressive. And then, you know, you obviously have the right to walk on a street, don't you?"

Wait.

Wait one second. I'm getting confused in my old age. Those comments are actually from January 13, 2009 when Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack tripped over himself after Martha Coakley staffer Michael Meehan got in his face.

While it was clearly over the line to get in McCormack's face, the wingnuttosphere quickly turned the incident into the My Lai Massacre. The Weekly Standard called Meehan an "assailant" while going with a misleading photo rather than the video, which shows…well, nothing, really. Daily Caller tried to bolster its daily readership of 13 people by going for over-the-top sensationalism, calling Meehan a "thug" who "roughed up" McCormack even though the reporter claimed nothing of the sort. Hannity suddenly discovered the concept of constitutional rights, patronizingly reminding us that McCormack has a 1st Amendment right to ask questions and wander down a public street.

Oddly enough, none of them have come to the defense of Alaska Dispatch reporter Tony Hopfinger. They are strangely silent on Hopfinger's right to attend an event at a public grade school and ask questions and quite eager, parroting the official line from the Miller campaign, to depict Hopfinger as some sort of deranged maniac in thrall of his own bloodlust and looking for the most efficient way to behead Miller and consume his spleen. Check out this incoherent and customarily grammatically flawed response from K-Lo, who also violated basic journalistic ethics by declining to disclose that she has accepted gifts from the Miller campaign (namely a 6-gallon tub of expired neopolitan ice cream)

It is life and death for some entrenched powers in Alaska and the incident involving Joe Miller’s security and a website editor is probably making their day. Reading some of the accounts of it, I truly don’t envy Miller.

Joe Miller is in many ways the epitome of the tea party this year. He’s taken on the establishment in Lisa Murkowski. The establishment has said “how dare you!” not just to Miller, but Republican primary voters. Joe Miller desperately wants to talk about policy issues and what he would do in the Senate because he believes America’s future depends on decisions being made in Washington. He sees a lot of injustice around him, in politics, in coverage, in resources, and he’s trying to get a handle on it all, having to do so under many hostile, watchful eyes.

I think the former Army officer would make an excellent senator, and I talk a bit about his recent drop-by NR-DC in my syndicated columnist this week. I hope enough Alaskans get to hear from him and his appreciation of the stakes in this election before they vote.

*slurpslurpslurp*

She came up for air a few hours later to post yet another uncritical regurgitation of Miller's curious version of the events.

So very strange that a Constitutional Conservative like Miller – not to mention his media cheerleaders – have suddenly forgotten their deeply-held convictions about how the media should be treated.