(Image source: Alaska Dispatch)

 

BY CHANCE SEALES


Alaskan Tea Party favorite Joe Miller locked up the Republican nomination for Senate.  Now, his private security guards locked up a local journalist asking tough questions after a PUBLIC town hall -- at a PUBLIC middle school.  Democracy Now and CNN have an overview.  


DEMOCRACY NOW:  “Tony Hopfinger, an editor at the Alaska Dispatch, was attempting to ask Miller about why he was disciplined while working as a part-time attorney for a local governmental body.”

CNN:  “Security guards intervened—I should say, private security guards intervened.  They pushed him away.  The reporter must have pushed them back.  Next thing you know, the reporter got cuffed and was led away from the candidate.”


Anchorage station KTUU went directly to the sources.  Hopfinger says he felt threatened.  And the security company owner says the journalist looked like quote -- “some crazy guy.”

HOPFINGER:  “At that point, suddenly I was surrounded by more guys—more security guards I guess—and Miller supporters.  And they were kind of putting their chest into me and at one point I just brushed off whoever.  It got too much [sic].”
FULTON:  “He said that he was a reporter and I said, ‘Sir, you’ve been asked to leave.  This is a private event.’  At that time, I told him again he was trespassing.  And then he hit the guy.  He pushed the guy.  (He hit the guy?)  Well, he pushed the guy.”


But the Anchorage Daily News says the private guards didn’t stop there—allegedly erasing the reporter’s camera – and then going after others journalists.   

“…[T]he guards attempted to prevent other reporters from talking to him and threatened them too with arrest for trespass. ….No other reporters were arrested, though a few shoving matches and chest bumps ensued as the guards attempted to cordon off Hopfinger and block photographs and videos from being taken….”

Miller already said he won’t answer questions about private matters – including work in a public office.  Add that to roughing up a reporter – NPR says: bad move.   

“This is like throwing down the gauntlet … So he pretty much guaranteed that reporters will be shouting questions at him in school hallways and elsewhere.”

A panelist on MSNBC argues – Tea Party candidates like Miller who are quick to confrontations and slow to answer legitimate questions– are hurting their own chances.  

“It’s just tragic.  And I think this is supposedly why the Tea Party started, right?  Because they were angry about the way government was going and I think they’ve kind of missed the mark—some of the candidates on the Tea Party side, not to pick on them, but they’ve missed the mark.”

In the end, Anchorage Police filed no charges and let the reporter go free.  Miller maintains it was an assault.  So, is this a case of Tea Party hostility infringing on free speech?  Or was the journalist out of line?
 

Joe Miller's Private Security Arrests Reporter

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Oct 18, 2010

Joe Miller's Private Security Arrests Reporter

(Image source: Alaska Dispatch)

 

BY CHANCE SEALES


Alaskan Tea Party favorite Joe Miller locked up the Republican nomination for Senate.  Now, his private security guards locked up a local journalist asking tough questions after a PUBLIC town hall -- at a PUBLIC middle school.  Democracy Now and CNN have an overview.  


DEMOCRACY NOW:  “Tony Hopfinger, an editor at the Alaska Dispatch, was attempting to ask Miller about why he was disciplined while working as a part-time attorney for a local governmental body.”

CNN:  “Security guards intervened—I should say, private security guards intervened.  They pushed him away.  The reporter must have pushed them back.  Next thing you know, the reporter got cuffed and was led away from the candidate.”


Anchorage station KTUU went directly to the sources.  Hopfinger says he felt threatened.  And the security company owner says the journalist looked like quote -- “some crazy guy.”

HOPFINGER:  “At that point, suddenly I was surrounded by more guys—more security guards I guess—and Miller supporters.  And they were kind of putting their chest into me and at one point I just brushed off whoever.  It got too much [sic].”
FULTON:  “He said that he was a reporter and I said, ‘Sir, you’ve been asked to leave.  This is a private event.’  At that time, I told him again he was trespassing.  And then he hit the guy.  He pushed the guy.  (He hit the guy?)  Well, he pushed the guy.”


But the Anchorage Daily News says the private guards didn’t stop there—allegedly erasing the reporter’s camera – and then going after others journalists.   

“…[T]he guards attempted to prevent other reporters from talking to him and threatened them too with arrest for trespass. ….No other reporters were arrested, though a few shoving matches and chest bumps ensued as the guards attempted to cordon off Hopfinger and block photographs and videos from being taken….”

Miller already said he won’t answer questions about private matters – including work in a public office.  Add that to roughing up a reporter – NPR says: bad move.   

“This is like throwing down the gauntlet … So he pretty much guaranteed that reporters will be shouting questions at him in school hallways and elsewhere.”

A panelist on MSNBC argues – Tea Party candidates like Miller who are quick to confrontations and slow to answer legitimate questions– are hurting their own chances.  

“It’s just tragic.  And I think this is supposedly why the Tea Party started, right?  Because they were angry about the way government was going and I think they’ve kind of missed the mark—some of the candidates on the Tea Party side, not to pick on them, but they’ve missed the mark.”

In the end, Anchorage Police filed no charges and let the reporter go free.  Miller maintains it was an assault.  So, is this a case of Tea Party hostility infringing on free speech?  Or was the journalist out of line?
 

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