Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joe the Journalist

While America was falling in love with the salty everyman small town capitalist Joe the Plumber, another Joe made news, although not nationally.
Joe Killian, a reporter with the News-Record in Greensboro, NC, recently covered a Sarah Palin rally at Elon University. Some Barack Obama supporters tried crashing the event, which pissed off the Republicans. One McCain supporter told Killian “Ain’t nothing to look at and don’t write about it,” when he craned his neck to look at the Obama cheerleaders.
After the rally, which included Hank Williams Jr. singing “McCain-Palin Tradition” and the theme to the Dukes of Hazzard, Killian interviewed some McCain supporters, then went to interview an Obama supporter.
As Killian tried interviewing the Obama supporter, a large bearded man wearing GOP paraphernalia came up to them and yelled at the Obama guy. The bearded man made a comment about how Killian was naturally interviewing the Obama supporter, when suddenly students began blaring a pro-Obama rap song. This made Killian chuckle.
That’s when the shit hit the fan.
Killian relates what happened next in his blog:

“Oh, you think that’s funny?!” the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. “Yeah, that’s real funny…” he said.
And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.
From my position there I saw the bottoms of a number of feet almost accidentally stomping me to death as the two political camps screamed back and forth, the music continued to blare and some of the Obama crowd moved the large bearded man and his friends away. When I was helped to my feet the bearded man was walking away quickly.

McCain-Palin rallies have become hatefests targeting intellectuals, liberals and journalists. Reporters from every media outlet, including those non-affiliated from the national corporate Mainstream Media, are fair game to the Republicans, who view them in league with Democrats.
The McCain-Palin supporters lambast journalists, with acerbic digs at their phantom allegiance to the DNC, Obama and the big city liberals, who, according to them, are using the media to broadcast communism, godlessness and sex for pleasure and not reproduction.
Snarky comments by conservatives against reporters is one thing, but when you physically harm anyone, that’s fucking criminal. That crosses the line. Grizzly Adams broke the law when he kicked Joe Killian.
So much for compassionate conservatism.
Now it’s kicking reporters and blaming the media for your candidate’s abysmal poll numbers.
Maybe the Republican Party should collectively get its shit together and decide what kind of political party it wants to be. Is it the party of Lincoln, the party of Reagan, or something more sinister, more devious? Are they a Christian party that practices violence instead of peace? Are they an open tent or a restricted golf club closed to everyone who isn’t a billionaire or trailer park trash? Do they stand for inclusion or division?
I’ve said it in other posts, but gone are the days of conservative intellectuals. Welcome the days of fascist strong-arm tactics the brownshirts would admire.
When your politics reeks of desperation, you scapegoat others. You blame the big cities, the Eastern intellectuals, the latte liberals and the media. You do this because it’s easy to assign blame to large groups of people rather than individuals. Groups are easier to hate and they’re easier to stereotype. You narrowly define them and hate them because they are what they are, not what they do.
So it was easy for that bearded loser to kick Joe Killian, because Killian was an evil liberal journalist. He was going to smear Sarah Palin.
Funny thing, because Killian’s story was very objective and didn’t mention his altercation with the McCain supporter.
Reporting elections is a thankless endeavor. Everyone thinks you're biased. They’re skeptical and second-guess your abilities, always expecting the worst. Years of experience has told me to rise above this and ignore the sniveling partisan toadies. Cursed with tunnel vision, the partisan cannot view things objectively, and sinks into the mire of personal attacks and assigning blame with those they feel are allied with their enemies.
Which brings us back to Joe the journalist, nursing his bruised leg. The worst thing about that day wasn't that a bumpkin kicked Joe. It was that Joe couldn't find the bumpkin to prosecute him.
The Republican partisans who croon about how great America is should try acting like they live in America. Threatening and assaulting reporters might be great for South Africa and Saudi Arabia, but it's not what Americans who value freedom of speech and the press are accustomed to.

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