We are living in the age of the attack blogger, a political ambusher armed with a camera who makes his way into public forums to unleash his political diatribe upon unsuspecting politicians.
Usually these events are held in private venues, but are open to the public. And for the most part, they are covered by the media or videotaped by the politician’s staffers, making it hypocritical and asinine when staffers end up forbidding the blogger to videotape.
However, in many cases, the blogger comes across as unprofessional and disruptive, which leads to him getting thrown out, then whining about his First Amendment rights.
The latest incident come to us from St. Louis where a pair of bloggers from the site Sharp Elbows (motto: “a conservative blog for the A.D.D. generation”) attempt to ask former Obama adviser Van Jones the “tough questions.”
Since former “Green Czar” Van Jones was ousted from the White House he has yet to be challenged about his radical views and associations. From his admitted communism and 9-11 trutherism to his appearance on a radical anti-government rap album, no one has asked him the tough questions.
Now I don’t know much about Jones except from the quick research I did on him this morning, but it appears the bloggers have an issue with Jones over his controversial opinions – which, of course, are protected under the First Amendment – while accusing Jones of clamping down on everybody else’s First Amendment rights.
They seem to have a big issue with what Van Jones said on this rap song, beginning at 3:50 where he states his support for the Palestinian people.
It’s the tired old position that you are entitled to say what you want as long as it doesn’t piss them off.
After the initial confrontation, Jones simply ignores the blogger, walking away from him.
But some of his staffers get a little bent out of shape, including one woman who stupidly says “we don’t allow photographs, it’s an intellectual/copyright thing,” which prompts the blogger to point out several other cameras in the venue.
Then a Washington University police officer confronts him, saying “did I give you permission to record me?”
Eventually, they escort the two bloggers out of the venue, who are allowed back inside if they promise not to videotape.
And while they are inside, Jones notices one of them has a camera and states that he doesn’t mind them videotaping.
So they start videotaping again and are even allowed to get within close proximity of Jones at the end of the speech where he is answering questions from others.
The blogger continues to pepper him with questions that are clearly meant to disrupt, which Jones ignores.
The blogger then escalates the disruption by asking the following question, which prompts Jones to point him out to police.
“Hey, I’m a big fan of your music, can you bust a freestyle about 9/11 truth?”
And as Jones walks away, the blogger shouts after him.
“No chance of you busting a free-style, then, Van? I’m a big fan of his rap.”
So the mission was accomplished. They were able to gain access to ask the disruptive questions. And yet they still claim Jones used “police force to squash dissent.”
There is no doubt there is a clear need for citizen journalism in this day and age, but people like these bloggers end up destroying credibility rather than building it up.
Even the blog’s regular readers pointed this out to them.
Ok, yeah, I agree with your premise. I don’t like what’s going on either. But if you want to be taken seriously, please don’t do the foolish stuff. Asking him to bust a rap. You went from a legitimate guy trying to film this, to a hack. It really gives them more credence and power to feel the way they do about their ‘opposition’. Please, please — I like your boldness, but just be even keeled … serious at all times … you’ll be taken more seriously and put them on the defensive. You simply made yourself and the conservatives look bad in this excerpt.
I agree with the comment by Anonymous. I am a conservative, I identify with the Tea Party, I support the efforts of citizen journalists and Brietbart’s efforts in that regard.
That said, I find the “ambush with questions” style of journalism, specifically ones that “taunt with questions” (i.e. “bust a rap”) to be objectionable.
If we are to be a long term viable movement in the new media, we must police these types of embarrassing attacks. I encourage every citizen journalist to “record and respect” our fellow citizens whether we agree or disagree with their positions. Respectfully challenge an assertion, debate falsehoods with facts, and remain calm in the face of violent behavior. See Breibart’s video confronting the SEIU protestors.
Thanks from all of us that support you.
So what do you guys think?