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 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.


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.


  • I have to give the Republicans credit for one thing: They are consistent in their support of other Republicans.

    There is no concern with consistency, the truth, policy, of rationality bu goddamnit, we won't denounce a fellow Republican. With all of the talk of nativism or tribalism, the proof of the effectiveness of these strategies lie with the GOP.

    I watch the Democrats flounder as they attempt to appear to be reasonable, thoughtful and nuanced but they are destroyes by the wall of sound that is the GOP. I think it's time to pull something from the right wing playbook and start dropping some labor-biases beats on an ignorant public who might just bust a move to something that might actually benefit them.

  • Monkey Business says:

    The GOP is hypocritical to an extreme that, if it weren't real, would be considered comical, however there's something to be admired in their remarkably consistent hypocrisy.

    Watching the Democrats fight amongst themselves is demoralizing because even if they're not 100% right, they're orders of magnitude closer than anything the Republicans have put forward.

    The political discourse in this country has gone from two sides having different ideas and principles and discussing them and reaching some kind of compromise or consensus to one side squabbling amongst themselves and the other yelling nonsense as loud as they can.

    I love this country, but I have no idea how to fix this. One party is incompetent and the other is morally bankrupt and they're both so entrenched that a third party can't gain any traction. At this point, I'd be open to anything.

  • Monkey Business: Amen, my fellow oppressed brother.

    I'm still voting straight ticket democrat this year, however… not out of choice but because the alternative is so unimaginably horrible.

  • Please spare me the righteous indignation.

    This is typical partisan stupidity on the part of the establishment Right. The Miller incident was pure D thuggery and should be called out as such. The Leftist press does the same crap regularly (ignoring NBPP prosecution drop anyone?) Just as stupid, just as partisan, just as short sighted.


  • Gee, let me guess bb……

    Both sides are equally bad, so we should always, always vote for the Republican?

  • Right-wing bobbleheads think it's fine when a Republican does it, and reprehensible when a Democrat does it. What else is new?

    Still can't top BillO's hilarious night of railing against assassin camera interviews of celebrities, then IMMEDIATELY showing his assasin camera interview of left-wing candidates/journalists. And later defending himself by basically saying "It's okay because they're Democrats".

  • Addendum, as it didn't go through for some reason: Nobody is fooled by this miller incident. If it had been a Democratic candidate and a right-wing journalist, Faux and all of its affilitiates would be screaming about how "jack-booted thugs" were "silencing anyone with a different view" for "the fascist left".

  • For eight years I blamed Bush for all the Republic craziness, the war, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, etc…..
    Now that he is in self imposed exile, I think the he and John Ashcoft may have been all that stood in the way of complete Teabagger anarchy. As crazy as Bush et al are, this new bunch is beyond bat shit.

  • Major Kong:

    You are being a twit (big surprise from childish Lefties) If you have ever followed any of my comments, you would know I'm not a committed Republican.


  • Monkey Business says:

    @Nunya: We're starting a club. It'll meet every day at the bar.

    @sluggo: I feel like, many years from now, George W Bush will write another biography, in which he says the reason he was such a bad president is because he was spending the majority of his time pandering to the Tea Party morons and keeping them from completely losing their shit.

    There's a part of me that's hoping that the Tea Party is just temporary insanity in response to economic uncertainty. There's also a part of me that's shit-my-pants terrified that this is the beginning of a new movement in American politics that will put the underlying racism, classism, ageism, and all the other intolerant -isms in America on display for the world to see.

    The United States is like a super hot girl that when times are good seems like she's got everything together, is really nice, and doesn't have any kind of real flaws, either personality wise or physically. When times get bad, she gets stressed, the little things come out. First it's kind of covert, if you don't listen close enough you'll miss it, racism. Then it's some anti-government rhetoric. Then she buys a gun and lots of ammunition, and starts stockpiling canned goods. Pretty soon, she's shaved her head, she's going to rallies, and is talking about a Final Solution for whichever ethnic or religious group is pissing her off that week.

  • I have that sinking feeling I got when W was re-elected, except this time it's even sinkier. Time to re-skill for the new post-prosperity political economy. I'll be planting potatoes and turnips in the spring. Maybe we'll get a goat and some chickens if I can get my wife on board. The trouble is I don't like gardening much. Maybe I'll become a moonshiner.

  • How can anyone be cuffed and detained without it being a crime? Why wasn't the security guard arrested on the spot?

    Monkey –

    TP is neither temporary insanity in response to economic uncertainty nor the beginning of a new movement in American politics. It is what right-wingery has always been.

    Johnathon Bernstein linked to Kevin Drum's article, pointing out that there is absolutely nothing unusual about the tea party.



    This is how it has always been with regressives.

    Nothing new under the sun – or on the bottom side of a slimy rock.


  • @ jazzbumpa: regressives! why isn't that term used more? I'm going to start; it makes things so… symmetrical.

    progressive bozo

  • Look, I'm not saying the Tea Partiers aren't Patriots, I'm just saying that if I was trying to destabilize the government, I'd seek to stop providing services for the people in the disguise of "fiscal responsibility", I would systematically dismantle media which disagreed with my point of view, and I would dismiss the thought that anything I was doing was short sighted and irresponsible.

    Detaining press? Private security forces for the wealthy and elite? A strong desire for personal liberty for the few at the expense of others? These are things that the right has in common with several middle east countries we pretend we're better than…

  • Monkey Business says:

    @jazzbumpa: Those articles are terrifying. The Tea Party and their historical ilk are, apparently, the political equivalent of herpes. Every time a Democrat wins the Presidency, they flare up.

  • In bb's defense, he's a complex guy and not a dittohead (at least, I don't think he's used the word "porkulus" unironically). He spends a lot of time debating people who don't agree with him and isn't a troll, which I respect.

    My only consolation right now is that, in the next 20 years, the Tea Party will start dying off en masse, but enough brown people will remember them that the GOP will go the way of the Whigs. As long as half the country takes the GOP/FOX axis at its word, I'm not holding my breath for the Singularity.

  • PLEASE, Joe Miller, inform us of your views! You're the one who won't speak to the media anymore, though I wish you would, because every time you do it's like "hello mouth, meet foot." Please tell us all about what you would do when elected to the Senate, because so far all I can gather is "talk a lot about how bad everything Obama likes is."

  • Screwy Canuck says:

    Actually, Brighton, it appears that Miller's guards were active duty members of the army. Check out Glenn Greenwald's Salon reporting.

  • To handcuff a person is Unlawful Restraint and a BIG felony… Legally, there could be a kidnapping charge as well.

Comments are closed.