Sunday, November 05, 2006

How does this strike you guys?

This video is up on Majikthise, where the commenters are pretty overwhelmingly saying that Marilyn Musgrave's "handlers" did something wrong to these "journalists."

Majikthese's post is entitled "Marilyn Musgrave's Men Maul Media." The YouTude video is even called "Marilyn Musgrave attacks."

I'm not finding myself sympathetic. I should note that I'm not usually sympathetic to Musgrave, but this video looks to me like a couple of clowns are harassing her. Judging by the fact that the men who get in the two guys' face A) don't look like they are dressed to be her handlers and B) walk off in the opposite direction while Musgrave gets into a car, I'm thinking those guys weren't "Musgrave's Men" at all, but were some random passersby.

What do y'all think?



Joel Monka said...

No, they sure didn't look like "handlers" to me, either. Many a common citizen in "flyover country" would do the same thing, I imagine.

What's confusing me is that I can't figure out who the journalists were working for. They were too polite and balanced for CNN, but their equipment wasn't up to CBS standards- perhaps they were NY Times bloggers.

Anonymous said...

I was about to say that it's no wonder that the average person wouldn't want to go into politics and deal with these fools, but Joel's snide (and presumably not serious, unless Joel's a lot dumber than I thought) remark about the media makes me wonder why anyone would go into any field where they have to deal with what the public dishes out.

On the off-chance that Joel *was* serious, the "interviewer" is identified on the first screen as Ben Gelt, a young gun control activist from Colorado last noted for getting busted on pot possession, who is working on behalf of Progress Now, a Colorado-based organization not affiliated with any major news outlet.

Also, CC's description of the action doesn't seem to be quite accurate. The two guys appear, at least on camera, after Musgrove and the woman who was with her get in the car. The activists don't seem to be making any attempt to obstruct either woman from getting into the car, nor any attempt to detain them physically. The other woman puts her hand on the camera, apparently to block it from capturing the action on tape, not because the cameraman is preventing her from walking forward. They're simply asking obnoxious political questions. I don't see why the concerned citizens in "flyover country" would be worried about these women's safety. You see them clearly in the reflection of the car window, after the door already has closed on the Congresswoman, coming up to ask, "Is there a problem?" It looked a lot more like they saw an opportunity to shut up some skinny snot-nosed kids in cheap suits by flexing their remaining middle-aged muscle, and took it. The one who engaged Gelt grabs the microphone in Gelt's hand and twists his arm down. Of all the people in the video, Musgrove comes off the best for simple ignoring them and going about her business.

Joel Monka said...

I knew full well who they were- i was just making a point about modern journalistic methods.

You were almost right about the men who interfered; they were not worried about the women's safety, but were reacting to Gelt's manners. I don't think age had a thing to do with it- I think young men from that town would probably have done the same thing. There's very little- almost zero- tolerance of rude and obnoxious behavior in large parts of the West and/or rural America, something that often surprizes people who are used to big city manners.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a rural area of Texas, and I feel safe in saying that a great deal of rude and obnoxious behavior can be tolerated, particularly among young people, as long as it's perceived as being perpetrated by insiders against outsiders. The older men's own behavior hardly can be classified as polite; they were acting like thugs. "What you gonna do about it?" isn't counted as gentlemanly speech where I'm from. Someone who was genuinely correcting my manners never would act the way those men acted. They would have called me out on what I was doing -- "You're bothering this lady, leave her alone if she doesn't want to talk to you" -- rather than meeting my bad behavior with more of the same.

As for media methods, I saw some chance that you were sincerely mistaken because you were talking only about "liberal" media outlets -- the tactics and behavior of Fox News or talk radio were unnoted.

Chalicechick said...

Either way, though I feel obnoxious liberal/moderate writing about problems I have with liberals all the time, things like this remind me why I do.

I think whichever way one goes on the behavior of the men, that they weren't connected to Mugrave is apparent enough and I agree with PG's assertion that Musgrave is the most well-behaved person in the video.

I think one would REALLY have to turn off one's critical thinking to label this incident Musgrave "attacking" or "mauling" anyone. But judging by Majikthese's comments, a LOT of people have done so.

I don't ever want to be that much of a true believer, in liberalism or anything else.


Joel Monka said...

PG- actually, I wasn't thinking about liberal media, just the last few such "attack" interviews I had seen. I don't have cable TV, so I don't see what tactics Fox uses on a regular basis. Talk radio is quite obnoxious, but the attack interview doesn't work without the video of the politician running away from you.

CC- I know exactly how you felt saying "Either way, though I feel obnoxious liberal/moderate writing about problems I have with liberals all the time, things like this remind me why I do.", because I feel that way about conservatives- I like them much better in theory than in the flesh. Most conservatives in the political world remind of that Churchil quote- "The kind of friends who make me long for the company of my enemies."

Anonymous said...


I see, I didn't realize that CNN no longer was on cable. Nor did I know that NYT bloggers were video bloggers (if showing video is a necessary component of this type of behavior -- I have heard radio people who will have themselves on microphone chasing after someone asking for comment, and supposedly some of this obnoxious behavior by liberals is done on behalf of Air America, which is talk radio).


Majikthise and her sympathizers didn't say that Musgrave *herself* mauled anyone. Rather, they identify the two older men who are messing with the camera and who twist Gelt's arm down as the maulers, and assume that Musgrave is somehow responsible for the men's actions. This is an assumption with little basis in YouTube observable reality.

Chalicechick said...

Well, the Youtube video is called "Marilyn Musgrave attacks," admittely, that's whoever put the video on Youtube, not Lindsey at Majikthise.

That says, Lindsey, who is normally really good, certainly sounds like someone who has drunk the anti-Musgrave koolaid when she says "What a pathetic spectacle, all to avoid a simple question from an undecided voted in Musgrave's district: "Given the choice, would you rather save a soldier's life, or prevent a gay marriage?"

Umm... Whoever wrote that question was NOT undecided and it is insulting to our intelligence to pretend otherwise.

I mean, jeez, if we're being that unsubtle, how about "Marilyn Musgrave, why are you so evil? An undecided voter wants to know!"

If Lindsey doesn't mean to make the "undecided voter" point seriosuly and is kidding in phrasing things that way, then the people in her comments who say things like "It seems pretty clear that both camps, Musgrave's and Allen's, were frustrated and angry at being asked unflattering questions, and couldn't think of a damn thing to do about it other than beat the shit out of the questioner." sure aren't.

Actually, that later in the comments Lindsey herself says "Just because someone annoys you doesn't give you the right to assault them. Sorry. It's not okay even if you're a Republican." suggests to me she is not viewing the video objectively at all.

Nobody seems to have any proof that those two guys had anything to do with Musgrave at all. It certainly doesn't look to me like they did.

But hey, it looks really bad for the Republican, so let's assume that.



Joel Monka said...

Lol, PG, I hadn't realized it was so important to you. While I don't have cable, the Culver Restaurant chain does, and they prefer CNN to Fox; accordingly, it is CNN interviews I get to see. I've no doubt that Air America can be obnoxious, but we don't get that here in Indianapolis; my radio listening fare is Morning Edition, NPR; Abdul Hakim Shabaz, WXNT; and Niel Boortz, syndicated on WXNT- none of whom do attack interviews.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, that later in the comments Lindsey herself says "Just because someone annoys you doesn't give you the right to assault them. Sorry. It's not okay even if you're a Republican." suggests to me she is not viewing the video objectively at all."

Well, I'm kind of with her on that. I had a long argument with my boyfriend after the melee at the Columbia Minuteman event because he thought that the protestors had seized what was temporarily the Minuteman/ College Republican property (the stage) and the CRs were justified in using force to take it back. I thought this was ridiculous, but then I'm also doubtful about the fighting words doctrine, which came about when a Jehovah's Witness was getting beaten up by a mob, in full view of a cop, and he cussed out the crowd and the cop. Not to get stick and stones, but there's a big difference between verbal harassment, or even jumping up on a stage, and physical assault.

And whether there's something unflattering in the question kind of assumes that one thinks that gay marriages aren't that much of a threat. If one seriously believes that same sex marriage is a grave threat to our civilization, and we fight wars to preserve our way of life, then if a soldier's death would prevent gay marriage from coming about and destroying the traditional institution that is the foundation of American society, from the perspective of a person who believes gay marriage to be a threat, it's not ridiculous to ask how committed Musgrave really is to fighting this threat. Heck, my boyfriend has no big problem with gay marriage as such, but he favors constitutional amendments against it because he thinks it's necessary to demonstrate to judges that if they overreach their bounds, the people will bite back. Everyone has different priorities.

Anonymous said...

I have heard radio people who will have themselves on microphone chasing after someone asking for comment, and supposedly some of this obnoxious behavior by liberals is done on behalf of Air America, which is talk radio).

I listen to Air America frequently, and have never heard them do that. As a matter of fact, all of the interviews I have heard have been with the person either in the studio or on the phone. Is there a particular on-air personality who you have heard do that? Maybe it's someone who isn't on my affiliate?

Anonymous said...

Mike Stark, the UVA 1L who's been pestering George Allen and getting shoved around by his handlers (really *his*, not just random guys who wanna take Stark down a peg), is working as a field reporter for "The Young Turks" on Air America.

Chalicechick said...

Your boyfriend's theory about gay marriage makes my head hurt. Does he feel that way about all civil rights rulings?

Personally, I think the people COULD bite back and have done so on gay marriage several smaller places already. As for the federal marriage amendment in every survey I've seen, support for it is about fifty-fifty nationally, though it goes up a bit if you call it "banning gay marriage" and down a bit if you simply describe it as outlawing a marriage between two people of the same sex. So it's not like the "biting back" your boyfriend favors is something a huge majority of people are in favor of either.

If I were your boyfriend, I would wait until I found an issue where there was an actual big majority disagreeing with the judges. (Eminent domain?) His argument would make more sense then. Right now, it seems like an irrational overcorrection..

As for "Just because someone annoys you doesn't give you the right to assault them. Sorry. It's not okay even if you're a Republican." To be clear, I agree with those words. I do not think that someon who applies them to the Musgrave video is making sense.


Joel Monka said...

I appreciate your kind words, powderblue! Never fear- the reason for hanging out at Culvers is that it's across the street from where my wife works, so I used to kill the time between when I got off and when she does there, before we rode home together. The only time we actually eat there is when our small group meets at church, as it is also only a mile from church and it would make little sense to drive home, eat fast, then drive right past it again to get to church.

Anonymous said...


The boyfriend thinks that many civil rights rulings were the right thing done on the wrong reasoning, and that the Supreme Court has lost legitimacy as it makes these rulings. I don't think the Court lost any more legitimacy over, say, Griswold v. Connecticut's finding a substantive due process right of privacy in the Constitution (that means states can't outlaw contraception) than Lochner v. New York's finding SDP right of contract (that meant states couldn't make maximum work hours laws).

He also thinks that we didn't see a biteback on racial civil rights because there was such a regional divide on the issue, with segregation being mainly a Southern phenomenon. Then I point out that the named plaintiff in Brown was challenging Kansas's law. Etc.

I think that people are more reluctant to change the national constitution than their state constitutions precisely because the former is such an unusual concept and the latter, particularly in some states, is such a common one. I don't think even Texans would get a majority to change the *federal* constitution in order to push through tort reform, but changing our own constitution -- which unlike the federal only requires 51%, no supermajority -- is no problem.

As far as I know, there unfortunately is a big majority that doesn't think we should have same-sex marriage. They may not think that view needs to go into the federal Constitution, but that's partly because they don't see it as something that's affecting them today. Whereas if the Supreme Court took a case and gave us the gender version of Loving v. Virginia (i.e., saying that states cannot restrict marriage based on the sex of spouses any more than they could restrict based on race), the next day everywhere from California to Maine would be required to recognize gay partners as spouses. I do think that the country isn't ready for that and that the Court may be wise to hold off until a few more states at least have instituted "marriage in all but name." Unlike segregation in education, segregation in marriage really was a regional issue by the time the Court prohibited it -- as soon as litigation was initiated, Maryland changed its law, and the remaining states except for DE were all Confederacy (aside from WV, which I sort of count as Confederate because it had to secede from VA to get out of the Confederacy, and didn't manage it until the Yankees were clearly winning. And I count MO and KY as Confederate b/c they had Confederate governments form even if there also was a competing Union government).

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, just goofing around and saw this thread. Thought I'd just try and clear some things up. First, the men in the video were Sterling Republicans. They followed us out of the Sterling GOP Headquarters. Second, the question was asked by an undecided voter in Marilyn's district, as was the second question about her support of military veterans. There's no doubt the questions were pointed, but, when someone says that gay marriage is the number one issue facing America you open yourself up to that type of questioning. Also, I think it should be pointed out that the woman grabbing the camera and the camera woman is indeed a Musgrave staffer. She is her field manager and clearly got a lot of pleasure from trying to prevent us from talking to a public figure on a public street. Another thing that should be made clear is that the Congresswoman went out of her way to avoid us, and the reason we seem to be running up on her is because that was the only way we could talk to her. And yes, I did get busted with pot, FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS 20. God bless, happy holidays, and keep talking!

Ben Gelt