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The Sideshow

Nov
1
2006

What happens when those who are supposed to report and comment on news become news themselves? Is it right when they go out of their way to do so?

And what’s all this about U.S. Senator George Allen and spitting?

These questions are a part of this week’s campaign news in Virginia. University of Virginia law student and Daily Kos blogger (actually, in a letter to the media he calls himself a “citizen journalist”) Mike Stark approached George Allen, on his way to a campaign event and shouted out the question, “Why did you spit on your first wife?”

He was immediately wrestled to the ground by some rather disturbingly pasty-looking men and escorted out of the building. He claimed he would leave peaceably if the management wanted, but who were these guys to force him to leave? He did leave, though, probably out of embarrassment that he, a relatively young guy, had been brought down by a couple of Poppin’ Fresh Dough boys.

A law suit has already been threatened because, surprisingly, it’s illegal to beat up lawyers, even in their fledgling stage. I’m sure the whole assault issue will play out in time. I only know what I see in the clip the media chooses to run, showing Stark, carrying a backpack and heading at a brisk walk toward Allen, who is surrounded by the aforementioned men who I hope to God are not his Secret Service men.

Stark calls out his question and is wrestled to the ground . In all fairness, I’ve had similar urges when people interrupt me, so I’m kind of hoping this is a trend.

Unfortunately, though, there are laws about beating people up simply for being rude. But I’ve only seen an edited tape. And the Allen people say Stark follows the senator’s campaign and has been aggressive in the past.

Actually, the way it looks on the tape, had Stark approached a President of the United States similarly, he’d be lucky to make it to the actual arrest with his teeth intact. That’s because the President gets the good Secret Service guys.

Even Stark’s question about a rumor that’s been circulating for years about Sen. Allen’s first marriage was a rather lame attempt at controversy. But, again, you can’t beat someone up for being an ineffective journalist. Thank God.

So, in response to my opening question, in regard to a political campaign: Who cares? Because the commercials, press releases, handshaking, public appearances, speeches, partisan back-stabbing, and publicity stunts are all just part of the sideshow.

And really, considering the fact that this particular campaign for the senatorial race in Virginia has been a mud bath from the start, I doubt that even the most naïve voter is swayed either way by Stark’s grab at publicity. No more than they are affected by how many African Americans Allen crowds into his commercials’ publicity shots or how many military women Jim Webb persuades to sing his praises.

Editor’s Note:Spot-on’s had a lot to say about the folks at Daily Kos. Here’s our archive, sorted by author.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 3:16 PM | Permalink

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