Well, this tears it, giving a whole new meaning to Sarah Palin’s Tea Party “freedom” chant, which amounts to it’s for me, but not for thee, especially if you’re the press.
Tea Party candidates are ducking traditional venues for the press to ask them questions, going instead of Fox News and wingnut radio, because they can get away with it today. It has changed the dynamics of the notion of a free press, because the Right simply isn’t giving interviews to those to which they don’t approve.
So, from Alaska we get a story of Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, whom Sarah Palin has put her clout behind in order to once again take down a Murkowski family member. His private security
goons guards handcuff a journalist trying to do his job. Via ADN:
The editor of the Alaska Dispatch website was arrested by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller’s private security guards Sunday as the editor attempted to interview Miller at the end of a public event in an Anchorage school.
Tony Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at Central Middle School until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release Hopfinger.
Miller’s campaign is blaming a “liberal blogger”:
A statement by the Miller campaign described the editor, Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch, as a “liberal blogger” who was trying to create a “confrontation” with Mr. Miller. The campaign also accused Mr. Hopfinger of assaulting someone after the event, a question and answer session with voters, and of “making threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate.” […]
Mr. Hopfinger told the Daily News he had shoved another man because he felt threatened after being surrounded by supporters of Mr. Miller during the incident. The owner of the security company the guards work for told the newspaper that the other man involved was not hurt.
Part of Miller’s statement says “the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent.”
What this reveals is the power of new media’s reach, but also that the stereotypical description once applied to reporters in new media has changed dramatically. The pajama-wearing, Cheetos-eating description doesn’t apply anymore. With people like Howard Fineman and Howard Kurtz jumping to new media from the traditional world of failed Newsweek, but also the Washington Post respectively, it proves who’s in charge and who’s got the power today.
However, what Miller’s actions say about Tea Party candidates who duck the press is something else all together. Handcuffing a journalist is serious stuff in the United States. Thomas Jefferson would have railed against such an action. Miller’s attack against the free press is a disturbing development.
If you don’t think it is think about it this way. Can you imagine what the right would do if a Democrat had done what Joe Miller did?
Note: Handcuff photo via Alaska Dispatch.